The Circus Maximus was the largest building ever constructed for shows. It dates from the 7th century BC and was built in the natural valley between the Palatine and Aventine Hills by the Tarquin Kings. The Circus Maximus was the setting for religious festivities as well as for chariot races. The original structure was made of wood but, under the Emperors Claudius and Trajan, it was rebuilt in marble and brick.
. The arena extended for 600 meters and was more than 100 meters wide. The tiered seats were held up by 3 orders of colonnades and could accommodate 300,000 spectators. The starting stalls and barriers were on the north side towards the Tiber River.
The stand for the Magistrate, the President and the Race judge was here while the public entrance was on the other side. The imperial stand stood close to the Palatine.
The long central section, the "spina", provided the backbone of the circuit and it was around this that the competitors had to race seven times. This backbone was richly ornamented: in addition to 7 dolphins and eggs, used to keep tally of the number of laps completed during a race, there were statues, trophies, sculptures and 2 obelisks.
One of these had been brought to Rome by Augustus and is today found in Piazza del Popolo, the other was brought to Rome by Constantus and is in the Piazza of San Giovanni in Laterano. There were different "factiones" or teams distinguished by the color of the tunics of the charioteers.
They were employed by corporations and associations which kept the bulk of the money from their winnings. The fans and their behavior were pretty similar to the sports fans of today- they showed their support for the different teams by their clothes and hairstyles. Scuffles and brawls were not infrequent. The last show in the Circus took place in 549 AD and was offered to the Romans by Totila , the King of the Goths.