Activities

An Afternoon at Gladiator School in Rome

If you’re looking for a memorable kid-friendly activity in Rome, Gladiator School is an event your children will never forget. For many Ciao Bambino clients, an afternoon at Gladiator School makes history come alive in a hands-on way during a family vacation in Italy.

Gladiator School Rome
Boys becoming gladiators

Although the swords are fake, the skills learned in class are real. Scantily clad men of yesteryear lead the troops through vigorous training.

Gladiator School Dress Up Rome
Gladiator School dress up

The two-hour class begins with a Gladiator history lesson in the Gruppo Storico Romano Museum with artifacts, models, weapons, and costumes from Ancient Rome. Our instructor was extremely entertaining and great with the kids. The session includes an opportunity to try on Gladiator paraphernalia. Giggle-producing for all!

The core class activity is learning to duel. But first, there’s a Gladiator-style warm up. If you are worried the class will not engage your children, watch this video. Non-participation is – literally – not an option.

Gladiator School Maximus
A Gladiator School diploma

The class ends with certificate and Gladiator name distribution. Meet Maximus!

The Gruppo Storico Romano website is tricky to navigate and mostly in Italian. It’s easier to book the two-hour class through Viator, or via Ciao Bambino advisors through our travel planning services. Pricing starts at $61 per person. If you have a big group, it may be worth reaching out to Gruppo Storico Romano directly and asking for a special group rate. Given the fight-focused subject matter and complex moves required to participate, we recommend Gladiator School for ages 8 and up.

The class takes place at Via Appia Antica 18, a 15-minute cab ride from the Colosseum. A perfect day pairs a visit to the Colosseum followed by Gladiator School so the context is fresh and exciting.

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Editorial Note: Gruppo Storico Romano provided us with a free session to review the class on Ciao Bambino. As usual, all opinions are our own. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy. Video by the Brown family.

Relevant Links:

Ciao Bambino recommended Rome family hotels

52 things to know before traveling to Italy with kids

72 hours in Rome with kids

The creepiest place in Rome

Kid-friendly walking tour guide in Rome

Kid-friendly tour guides in Italy 

Understanding Rome’s neighborhoods, where to stay in Rome

An exceptional family-friendly accommodation in Rome

Six extraordinary things to do with kids in Italy

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16 Comments
  • Great. The children are so cute. Not only is this sword fighting in it very similar to the ancient movies. In this country I do not have this sport but there are training centers for fencing athletes to take the Olympics.

  • I am wondering if i book this for my children do i need to buy tickets for my husband and myself, or can i just buy tickets for my kids and stay there and watch?

    • Hi Jody – In the past, parents have been able to watch as kids participate. However, we’d recommend emailing them to check the latest policy. Thanks and happy travels!

  • Very disappointed in our experience. We booked tickets through Viator, which says that have 24/7 customer service, however when I needed it and sent in a request I got a page saying that it will take up to 36 hours to hear from them. There is no phone number to call. I booked the tickets through Viator and then they cancelled our tickets saying it was fraud, however the charge did go through the bank account and bank said all was fine. Hopefully I get my money back. Now the school is booked and we have a very crushed little boy who was looking forward to this for days. It was to be the finale to our Rome trip and we planned a whole day around this. Now we have a crushed child as we can’t get ahold of anyone at the school (even after several calls on long hold times and multiple emails) or anyone from Viator. Have been trying to fix this for over and hour now and have been unable to reach anyone. Very disappointing.

    • Hi Jessica, we’re sorry to hear about the trouble. We’ve passed your comment along to Viator’s senior management team. The Gladiator School staff can be difficult to reach by phone, so we typically encourage clients to go through the Viator channels instead – it’s unfortunate that the booking process didn’t go as smoothly as usual. Please let us know if we can help further.

  • We had a terrible experience at the Gladiator school. It is definitely not worth 100 Euros. You pay 20 euros to drive to the outskirts of the city outside of Rome to be dropped off on a dirt road. We had to walk about 1/4 mile with a stroller and 2 children. The tutoring was not worth the 122 euros (unlike every other vendor in Europe they insisted the 100 euro price did not include VAT if you used credit card. Note – every single other vendor includes VAT in there prices). A bit of a rip off but after spending the time and effort to get out to this remote location you feel obligated to comply or fork over cash. In addition during the instruction we were attacked by Mosquitos. It was the middle of the day and 90 degrees out but bitten by at least 3 Mosquitos at a time. The instructor brought you into what was a so called “museum” which was basically a hot room without AC that had small structures that your child can put together along with fake gladiator armor. We were in the museum for an hour. We were then brought into a small make shift ring that was also mosquito infested and my son was taught a few amateur gladiator moves. The cherry on top was someone working at the place stealing our expensive SLR camera from our kids stroller. We were the only people at the school and on our way back to the hotel from the school we realized that our camera was missing. It was obvious someone at the school stole our camera from our babies stroller. Of course when we called the school no one knew anything. We called the president of the school, Nero, who had nothing to offer. The cost of the camera was a loss but the loss memories that we had on the memory chip was priceless. Better use of money and time and not worth having to look over shoulder to avoid loss of you valuables. Honestly could have saved the 122 euros and had that same experience of being robbed at any of the popular tourist piazzas. The experience outside of the camera being stolen, was definitely a scam to attract tourist trying to provide entertainment for their children.

    • Hi Jamie – We get mostly great feedback about the Gladiator School … but you are absolutely correct, the location is definitely out there and I can imagine that it was very uncomfortable on a hot day! Sorry to hear about your camera. Very frustrating! -Amie

    • Hi Jamie – Indeed, it is far out and I can definitely see how it could be miserable on a really hot day. Many of our clients have a great experience with their set up and my son loved it too, but your story is not a good one. Losing your camera must have been so frustrating and infuriating!! -Amie

  • Thanks – super helpful. Is it possible for a child close to age 6 to participate? He and his 8 year old brother saw the video and are very excited about it.

  • Oh!!! My nine year old son would LOVE this….now you have me wondering if we can squeeze in a weekend to Rome before leaving Italy this summer. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Gladiator school looks like so much fun! I tried to talk my daughters into it when we were in Rome last summer and they were not at all interested.

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