Gladiator School in Rome – Your Own Colosseum Experience

Written By: The Planet D

When we were told that we’d be spending the morning at Gladiator School during our visit to Italy’s capital, we immediately said, “Sign me up!”  We love a new adventure and who doesn’t want to learn a little about the Ancient City’s past while getting the chance to wield a sword?

We arrived early at the school and nobody was there, so we sat in the tent feeling anxious as if a real gladiator. Although we were simply waiting for a lesson, the gladiators were waiting to fight to the death.

Gladiator School Rome

gladiator school rome sign

Our guide came in like a true slave handler and yelled at us and mocked us whenever we answered his questions.

He never wavered from his character and it was entertaining to watch him speak even though he wouldn’t allow us to take a photo of him. (We had to sneak photographs whenever he wasn’t looking) “What is this contraption?” He said, “is it from the future?”

We all received our smocks and looked almost like a true slave about to enter the ring of death before heading into the museum for a talk about the Colosseum and the ancient celebrities.

What to Expect from Gladiator School in Rome

gladiator school rome teacher

I didn’t know what to expect from Gladiator School and as the days’ events unfolded, I realized that I had something else in mind.

I was expecting some hardcore workout and fight to the finish, but it was a pretty mellow morning of listening to “Marcus Aurelius” tell us about the history of Rome while staying in the character of Gladiator.

We stood in the cold museum for nearly an hour as he told us the history of the Gladiator and truthfully, it was so long and cold and I had trouble understanding most of what he said.

I found myself zoning off into space and when he asked us questions I yelled out incoherent answers.

The Gladiator Experience – Swords Play

dave fighting gladiator

It was fun to handle the swords though. We learned the proper way to take the sword out of its sheath without chopping off your fellow soldiers head or your own hand. Who knew taking a sword out could be so complicated!

We then looked at a few more artifacts and tried on some helmets. They were extremely heavy and took away all your peripheral vision.

I have no idea how these gladiators managed to fight in the ring with heavy metal helmets, heavy metal swords and a constant fear of death.

I guess I’m going to have to rent Russell Crowe’s Gladiator again to get a sense of what he was talking about.

What Was the Reason for Gladiators?

group gladiator school

I did learn that the reason for Gladiators was to clear out the overcrowded jails. Instead of executing criminals, they gave them the opportunity to fight for their lives.

Most men said yes since it gave them a second chance at living.

Gladiators who won match after match were eventually given their freedom to retire.

They became celebrities and even though they had their freedom, most went on to become professional gladiators. I guess they got used to the glory.

It was then back outside where we thankfully didn’t have to run through the obstacle course or jump around on the bleachers. I think that we were all expecting to do some sort of training that involved getting dirty and pushing us to our limits.

Instead, we were given wooden swords where we practiced 5 moves of attacking and blocking.

It was when we finally got into the ring to fight that I started to have some fun.

The Gladiator Match

dave practicing gladiator

I had finally warmed up from the cold of the concrete museum and I was finally feeling like we were in Gladiator School.

It was time to kick off the tournament and fought using the moves we had learned.

Whenever someone made body contact they won a point. First one to three wins and goes on to round two.

Roman Gladiator School Round 2

gladiator school rome practicing

After the tournament was over, we all got our diplomas to state that we had graduated from Gladiator School.

We were full-fledged gladiators and licensed to fight in any ring around the Roman Empire.

A Certificate to Prove We Passed Gladiator School

group graduation gladiator

In the end, it was a fun morning with a great group from House Trip.

I think that less time could have been spent in the museum and more time could have been spent on the field taking part in different Gladiator activities.

I would have loved to try to fight with one of those helmets on!

For more on The Rome Gladiator School  check out Get Your Guide and book your own Private Tours in Rome, check out Get Your Guide for more Roman Holiday ideas! 

More Information for your trip to Rome

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

28 thoughts on “Gladiator School in Rome – Your Own Colosseum Experience”

  1. The post is tremendously great and it is really surprising to know how Gladiators manage to fight with heavy metal swards, heavy metal halmets, and a constant fear of death at any moment. The activities of gladiators discussed in the post are informative and triggered the curiosity for exploring more and more on the subject. Above all, the fun element in the post is fabulous.

  2. Here is a joke you can tell at your next speaking engagement. Hold up your hand giving the peace sign and ask if anyone knows what that means. Then tell them it is a Roman soldier ordering 5 cups of coffee. (Be prepared for the laughter to ripple slowly as people make the connection with Roman numerals.) ;o)

    Congrats on making the “100 Reasons To Travel” list by Trip Logic – As a fairly new blogger, I was pleased to make the list as well (# 16).

    If you have a moment, check out my admittedly quirky travel blog at It’s a fun read, or meant to be at least. ;0)

    • Thanks Terry, fun joke! I even had to thin about it for a second:) Congratulations to you as well. I’ll definitely be checking out your site. All the best in blogging!

  3. It was unbelievably cheesy, yet so much fun. I’m just waiting for my revenge, can’t believe I got knocked out in the first round!

    • That’s why I think that they should spend more time fighting and less time in the museum. 1 hour of him talking was way too much. It would have been better to have more fight and less talk. That way we could get second and third chances.

  4. Looks fun! When my sister and I were younger we went to Caerleon, a former Roman settlement in Wales. There’s a ruined ampitheatre there and I think we spent at least an hour just trying to kill each other with sticks as swords. It was exhausting! I think I probably would have expected something more similar to a work out from Gladiator school as well, but this experience looks a little more educational than tackling your little sister with a twig…lol.

    • That sounds like an amazing experience. What a memory. I think I would have liked to tackle people a bit more. I felt like we were just getting started and it was time to end. My advice to these guys. Less talk, more action.

  5. And so these oh-so-flattering pictures finally come to light =) It was such a fun morning once we got out of the museum! I think I have potential as a gladiator if this whole travel blogging thing doesn’t work out…

  6. I loved spending time in Rome with you guys. It was such a fun albeit short trip. I’m just sorry I didn’t get a chance to avenge my initial defeat by Deb. I was only just getting warmed up, it wasn’t fair!

    • I got lucky. We needed more time to fight to work on our strategies. Once in the rig for 3 short rounds wasn’t enough. We’ll have to put together our own gladiator fevent at the next TBU!

  7. I think I would have dozed off (or… frozed off?) in the museum, too. Being former military, I would definitely have wanted to get out into the ring for more butt-kickin’. Still, sounds like you all had fun. 🙂

    • Yep, dozed and froze are exactly the right words. The kusum was not fun. Now, the kicking butt, totally a blast!