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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