Stadium of Domitian (Stadio di Domiziano)
Known as the Circus Agonalis in Roman times, the Stadium of Domitian was built by Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus to hold athletic events, and is believed to have been the only stadium built in masonry in ancient Rome. Fragments of the original stadium can still be seen above ground, but much of the ruins are beneath Piazza Navona. Join an underground Rome tour to visit the section of the archaeological site opened to the public in 2014, which features multimedia exhibits to illustrate the history of the sport, as well as the history of the stadium itself. The Stadium of Domitian is an example of the many layers of history that exist beneath modern Rome, and underground tours usually touch on hidden Roman ruins along with early Christian churches and medieval crypts. To get an idea of the size of the ancient stadium, opt for a tour of Rome’s main squares and fountains that includes a turn through Piazza Navona, built in its exact size and shape.
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Things to know before you go
- The Stadium of Domitian is a must-see for Roman buffs who want to take a deep dive into the city’s hidden archaeological treasures.
- The underground Stadium of Domitian archaeological ruins are not accessible to wheelchair users.
- Be sure to wear comfortable shoes to tour the archeological site on foot.
How to get there
The Stadium of Domitian is located beneath Piazza Navona, which can be reached by a number of different bus lines or on foot from the Trevi Fountain in 15 minutes.
When to get there
The underground archaeological site does not close at midday and can offer a cool respite from the city’s heat during those hours.
Above the ruins of the Stadium of Domitian, Piazza Navona is one of the most storied and elegant squares in Rome. Home to the baroque Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone and vast Palazzo Pamphilj, the square is known for Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s famous Fountain of the Four Rivers. The square is crowded with outdoor cafes and buskers, lending a lively air day or night.
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- Church of Santa Maria della Pace (Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pace)
- Bramante Staircase (Scala del Bramante)
- Basilica di Sant'Agostino
- Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana delle Quattro Fiumi)
- Piazza Navona
- Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone (Chiesa di Sant'Agnese in Agone)
- Gladiator Museum
- Madama Palace (Palazzo Madama)
- Church of Saint Louis of the French (Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi)
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