Photo Friday: Gladiator School Rome

It’s hard to pick a highlight on any Italy trip. As far as I’m concerned, the whole trip is a highlight. However, for our kids, the hands-down winner was definitely Gladiator school in Rome run by Gruppo Storico Romano, which brought history to life! By coupling our tour of the Colosseum with gladiator school, we were able to create a more meaningful experience for the kids that they’ll never forget.

First we saw the ruins of an amazing destination and then the gladiator school was able to recreate the past in a participatory way that the kids that engaged the kids both mentally and physically. We had 8 kids from 3 to 11 years old that all loved it.From running through swinging sand bags to the sword fights, the whole thing was enjoyable.

Nero, a present day gladiator in full costume, led an interactive demonstration where my kids modeled real gladiator gear. After 30 minutes, we all put on our tunics (my husband hasn’t worn a tank top like that in years – fortunately!) and headed to the sand arena. There we learned a few sword moves, went through the “gauntlet” and then had some harmless one-on-one battles with foam swords which definitely vented some building sibling tension. The school is located right off the Appian Way. We had a great lunch at the end of the street. It just so happened that Nero dines there daily. Try the chickpea special if it’s offered – it was one of the best local meals we had in Rome.

It was very difficult to find a one-day Gladiator school. There were 6-week programs and other 3-day programs, but this 2-hour program was perfect for the kids and a tourists’ timetable. We recommend booking Gladiator School through Viator. When you go, don’t forget to bring water with you. The exercise and sand made everyone quite thirsty and there wasn’t bottled water readily available.

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Relevant Links:

Value-oriented places to stay in Rome – Hotel Ponte Sisto, Internazionale Domus, Albergo Santa Chiara

52 things to know before traveling to Italy with kids

Kid-friendly tour guides in Italy 

Luxurious places to stay in Rome – Inn at the Spanish Steps


  1. Wish I’d been able to do something as imaginative as this when I was a kid! Most of the travel I remember from my childhood consists of a blur of quick images seen from the back seat of my parents’ car. We were always in such a hurry that we never really saw anything.

    That may be why we travel so much differently now. It’s always seems to work best when you don’t try to rush to see everything…and just take some time to enjoy where you’re visiting.

    Your kids will have so many more brilliant memories of their childhood travels as adults 🙂

  2. So glad to know about this! It is right up our alley and I have a kido who has a passion for gladiators despite being a girly, girl!

    We will go through Italy again this year on our open ended world tour, so will check it out! This summer we adored the gladiator superb shows at Puy du Fou in France and the summer before that the amazing gladiator museum near Ephesus.

    Mixing books and fun things like this, makes all the difference in creating a true learning experience for kids!

  3. I have twin 7 year old boys that will love this experience. We’ve had to reschedule our summer trip as I’m expecting a surprise baby(!) but will put this on the list for NEXT summer!!

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