INSIDE: Roam the Gnome’s review of the BEST of the Rome tours for kids – Rome Gladiator Tour. Updated 2019.
Rome, lovely Rome.
How I heart you, you divine juxtaposition of old and new, culture and religion, gelato and pizza.
It’s a WOW spot of historical significance and impressiveness- the Colosseum, the Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain… everyone needs to go at least once in their lives.
Rome is totally walkable. Getting from place to place is easy so long as you keep an eye on the street names and a local map. Just mind the traffic!
If you forget or lose the map, your inner GPS will probably kick in to help you. It’s just not possible to get completely ‘lost’ – just follow your nose, and you’ll find your way soon enough if you watch out for famous landmarks.
But our top tip for travelling in Rome – find things that can help you go a little deeper with your understanding about this magnificent place.
Take tours. Book experiences. Join activities. Lock in a Gladiator Training Session.
We guarantee you’ll love it as much as we did!
Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. If you book a product or service after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.
- 1 Best Rome Tours for Kids – Gladiator School Rome
- 2 Rome Gladiator Training Tour for Kids and Families
- 3 Rome the Gnome’s Insider’s Guide to the Gladiator Museum Rome
- 4 Inside the Rome Gladiator Museum
- 5 Activities in the Gladiator Training Rome Arena
- 6 Gladiator School in Rome practice
- 7 Rome Gladiator Tours for Kids
- 8 Win a prize at the Gladiator School in Rome
- 9 Family Activities in Rome: Gladiator Training in Rome
- 10 The Inside Scoop – Rome Gladiator Tour
- 11 Rome Tours for Kids: Gladiator Training cost
- 12 How to get to Gruppo Storico Romano, Via Appia Antica, Rome.
- 13 Roam the Gnome’s Toadstool Rating Guide – Rome tours for kids?
- 14 Looking for MORE SUPER DOOPER FUN things to do in Rome with kids (and shopping in Rome too)?
Best Rome Tours for Kids – Gladiator School Rome
Take a sneak peek at the video above to see our pick of the best Rome Tours for kids, the Gladiator training tour.
Held at the Gladiator School located right off the Appian Way, this Gladiator Museum and Arena is about 10 minutes Taxi or Uber from the Coliseum
I apologise for the length of the video.
I’d just bought final cut pro editing suite, it was one of my first proper goes playing with the editing tools, and I was having FUN! Skip to the best bits.
Rome Gladiator Training Tour for Kids and Families
While we were often warned, “There’s not much for kids in Rome or children activities in Rome”, we found plenty of fun adventures for visiting Rome with children.
When you are in the know, there IS a lot of stuff to do in Rome for kids and families, and the best bit is that most of these places are JUST outside the main city centre, right on the cusp, but still well within walking distance as long as you have a stroller or pram with you.
The biggest challenge is condensing the historical facts of Italy’s capital into kid-friendly conversations and stories.
Let’s face it, Roman history is GORY. (Actually, 7 year old boys LOVE that!)
And it’s often not that easy to break down the historical facts when you are not 100% sure of them yourself!
So finding THIS experience, the Gladiator Training in Rome, was the number one highlight of our Rome visit and a history lesson in one.
Rome the Gnome’s Insider’s Guide to the Gladiator Museum Rome
Ned, Jack and I were treated to a hands-on interactive storytelling session, complete with a mini history lesson in the Roman Historical Museum located on site.
All Gladiator School trainers are members of the Historic Group of Rome, who live and breathe early-Roman life through re-enactments and gatherings with fellow history buffs.
Ned was dressed in a customary Gladiator tunic complete with belt, authentic leather gloves to protect his all-important hands for combat, and was appointed his very own (foam) training sword.
We both tried on Roman Gladiator Armour, and held a real Roman Gladiator Shield.
Inside the Rome Gladiator Museum
There’s a room full of historical treasures including Legionnaire helmets, weapons, busts, shields and as you can see, even a stuffed lion’s head.
The most important lesson I learned here is that getting dressed up and playing the part of a real life person is THE BEST way to help a child make connections between the ancient Roman places he’s been visiting (eg Colosseum), and what actually happened there, thousands of years ago.
Activities in the Gladiator Training Rome Arena
After the museum visit where you’ve been clothed, it was time to start the REAL Gladiator training practice, before facing up to a chosen opponent in the tournament ring with gladiator games and a re-enactment of gladiatorial combat.
It’s optional to join in the actual “fight” but it’s tame and you should encourage the kids. It’s the highlight of the day.
Image: Video still
Gladiator School in Rome practice
Thank goodness I brought Ned’s ventolin just in case. The practice was hard work.
He skipped, jumped, dodged hanging bags, ran, did push ups, and built implements of war.
I was puffed watching him!
This Gladiator training is not for the faint-hearted, and the kids must have a bit of thick skin to cope with the rigorous instructions and firm tone of the trainer. (It’s all in jest and part of the storytelling experience of course, but kids can’t tell the difference.)
Ned did have a few tears at one point, just before he was about to ‘enter the ring’ for battle but our guide Pierro, playing the Legionnaire Marco, was quick to comfort Ned and show a soft side.
It was at this moment, when Ned was a little bit scared of the actual fighting in the arena, that Pierro decided the best way forward was for Ned to battle his mum.
That’s right, he pulled me and Jack into the ring, and let Ned practice against US!
Rome Gladiator Tours for Kids
This was the perfect solution, and Ned was quick to show how easily he could defeat me with child on hip! He was not shy to battle me, that’s for sure. Look at his face.
Those swings were brutal!
- We played a few Ancient Rome Games, and Gladiator Fighting Games in the lifelike Gladiator Arena.
- We engaged in Gladitorial combat – watch the video to see how we managed with that!
Gladiator for the Day Rome
Then it was time for Ned to battle Marco, the Legionnaire, in a fight to the death.
It was amazing how strong and powerful an opponent Ned could be against a fully grown man! (It helped when this generous man was able to play it down for said kid and let him triumph!)
Pierro made my day, with his kindness and encouragement of 6 year old Ned.
Win a prize at the Gladiator School in Rome
The victor of Gladiator School receives a prize for his or her efforts, and Ned was gifted his own Gladiator ornament to take home.
All other participants receive a certificate of accomplishment as a memento of the day. He did too.
Family Activities in Rome: Gladiator Training in Rome
If you are looking for things to do in Rome with kids over 5 years old, we highly recommend this tour.
From here, head straight to the Colosseum like we did. (Click here for a guide to the Colosseum for kids)
Linking the two activities together helped Ned to make connections between this play, and real life. The best!
The Inside Scoop – Rome Gladiator Tour
Correct at time of publication. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in Euro, AUD or US dollars as stated.
Bring a bit of Roman history to life! Enrol the kids in Gladiator School and let them be a Gladiator for a day in Rome.
Address: Gruppo Storico Romano, Via Appia Antica 18-00179 Rome.
Telephone: 1 (702) 648-5873
Gladiator Tour times: Varied, but at least two or three times a day. We went at 9am. There’s often tours at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm, depending on the season.
Rome Tours for Kids: Gladiator Training cost
This Gladiator Training tour experience at Gruppo Storico Romano must be booked through a Tour company.
Book your tour here with Get Your Guide. Compare prices on Viator here.
The tour includes:
- a drink
- the two-hour class and lesson
- hire of gladiator clothing and weaponry, and
- a choice of lesson times during the day.
You’ll also be given the opportunity to visit the Historical Museum and view artefacts and delve deeper into Roman life. Entrance fee to the museum is included.
Through , a single tour ticket is outrageous at $220 AUD (about $150 US or €130 Euro) but this price does reduce significantly the bigger your group.
Two people in your group will each pay around $160 AUD each. ($110 USD, or €95 Euro)
If there are four in your group, tickets start from $125 AUD per person. ($85 USD, €75 Euro)
It definitely pays to find some friends!
Super luckily for us, we were the only booking for THIS particular time slot so it meant we had a personalised session and Pierro was kind enough (and tolerant of Jack cruising about the place) to let me join at times in to help Ned!
If you are a watcher, not a joiner, it’s free to watch friends or family free of charge from the viewing platform.
But go on, we think you should join in!
I mean, when else in your life will you be able train as a Gladiator, a la Russell Crowe? Do it now.
How to reduce the cost of tours?
PS: If anyone know of a facebook group or website where you can find other singles to share costs with at times like this, let me know.
The single supplement for travel always makes me a bit cross, as it feels discriminatory to those of us who either travel alone, or alone with kids and don’t fit the traditional configuration of two parents and two kids scenario.
Can you book the Gladiator tour independently?
I tried to book and pay for this independently, as Ned was going to be the only one who could participate.
Jack was too young, and as we didn’t have another adult travelling with us, I had to supervise Jack and couldn’t join in.
I asked my Italian speaking AirBnB host if he might call the Gladiator school on my behalf to enquire about booking over the phone or just rocking up in person to pay at the door, as my ability to speak Italian is non-existent.
He rang, and was told that the only way to participate was to book and pay for tickets in advance through a tour company.
Review of Gladiator Training Rome Tours with kids
Would be book again? Yes. Without a doubt. It was the BEST money ever spent on a ‘tour’, and worth every (expensive) cent.
How to get to Gruppo Storico Romano, Via Appia Antica, Rome.
Nearest bus station: Appia Antica-Travicella (lines 118 or 218)
By taxi or Uber: The Gladiator School is about a 15 minute taxi ride from the Colosseum down a maze of dusty streets. Be sure to give your driver firm directions and carry a map with you to avoid a long-distance run-around.
Roam the Gnome’s Toadstool Rating Guide – Rome tours for kids?
Is Rome good for kids? I’d vote YES!
Especially if you take them for a round of Gladiator Training on our pick of the best Rome tours for kids.
This experience continues to be one of our Top Five travel experiences and I’m not sure it will ever lose its’ spot!
Looking for MORE SUPER DOOPER FUN things to do in Rome with kids (and shopping in Rome too)?
Click the links in blue below.
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