Gladiator School of Rome
Gladiator School of Rome
4.5
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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Neighborhood: Ardeatino
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles547 reviews
Excellent
424
Very good
81
Average
19
Poor
11
Terrible
12

Michael D
Botley, UK4 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
Was a little apprehensive about booking this due to the price, but just though ‘when in Rome!’
However, really enjoyed the experience and something the kids will remember for a long time.
Our instructor was absolutely fantastic, very knowledgeable, and kept it very interesting.
Worked really well after a morning visit to the coliseum, & stopped off at Bull steak on the way down which is very much worth a visit!
Written January 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Youngcouple62
Toronto, Canada3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Family
Our family of four attended gladiator school and we’re ready for the fighting pits! David taught us about the legionaries and then took us through the full training, ending with a battle. The experience is educational and experiential. Good times all around!
Written May 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

percytadi
Truro76 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Couples
We were not quite sure what to expect as a couple of 50 somethings with an enthusiastic interest in the Romans. We didn’t need to worry, as our host and dottore Olympus was excellent. He clearly is very knowledgeable about the life of gladiators , and has a deep passion for Ancient Rome which was infectious.

He even put up with my inability to remember any of the fighting techniques when it came to our own battle in the arena! We were more barbarian than Roman, unfortunately. However, I definitely recommend this experience whether you are a couple like us, or a family.
Written October 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Doochilou
London2 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018
Being humiliated 'in good humour' is something resilient boys can take on the chin, but my 10 year old isn't one of them. He came away from this experience with a loss of confidence and joy it took a few days to recover from. The session started with a long lecture on gladiator history STANDING UP surrounded by amazing gladiator artefacts that were barely referred to. One leader was aimless, the other (clearly the more experienced) talked informatively over him, rudely. Bit embarrassing. It was hot and long and the adults were fidgetting and foot-hopping - the children were totally fussing, bored out of their skulls and terrified they would be asked a question that'd be mocked for not knowing. Finally we got out of there. The exercises were fun. The 10 year old has minor brain cross-over problems and couldn't co-ordinate the exercises which he was singled out repeatly by being called 'Disaster!' This was meant to be funny, and replicate the strictness of the ancient schools but there was no sensitivity to the focus on one child or his response. He was then asked to fight in the ring first. Again the regime was 'fun' strict and humiliating for all the children except the few winners. I just asked my son if he'd recommend it and he said 'it's something you should do to learn about gladiators'. Another Mum whispered to me she was glad her sons didn't go first as they'd both be in tears. The school is an amazing idea - I really hope they get the formula of replicating history and inspiring their students right.
Written July 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alan_Kay
Wollongong, Australia193 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2016 • Friends
"Awesome" is a much-overused word that still does not even begin to describe this experience. This was one of the top things that I had been looking forward to on my trip. The downside of that is that often, when you look forward to something long enough, reality can't meet your expectations. That did not happen here. It was in some respects a little different to what I was expecting, but the number of disappointments was zero.

I should make one thing clear at the outset; some articles and reviews that I've seen might suggest that this is a family / kids activity and put adults off booking it. It isn't; it stands to the credit of the school that it has classes in which children can participate but it really is an "all ages" activity. (The organisation that runs it (Gruppo Storico Romano; essentially the history group of Rome) also runs a long term series of classes in which you can learn all aspects of Roman era martial practice. Of course you would need to live in Rome to attend the twice weekly classes. I wish.)

The location is a little bit out of the way. There are public transport options but you're better off going by taxi if possible. We were staying in an apartment near Roma Centrale railway station and it would not have taken us more than 15 minutes to get there. The only real issue is that the taxi driver will have to take some back streets to do that. (The map may suggest that you can go straight down Via Cilicia but that is in fact an overpass over Via Appia Antica. The back roads are the only way and you may, as we did, encounter traffic problems here and there in the narrow streets.)

The school itself is down the end of a long laneway that leads off Via Appia Antica but there is plenty of signage.

Preparations: When you book, the web page will tell you that uniforms are provided. This is only partially true; you are provided with a tunic to wear over your existing clothes. You should therefore wear something that you can get dirty and which won't restrict your movement too much; maybe athletic shoes and gym pants and a T-shirt would be a good idea. I was wearing long pants, but the other guys who were in my class were wearing shorts. That would work, but bear in mind that you may be hitting the ground a few times in the course of this. Also, leave your watch at home. It looks ridiculously anachronistic in any photos. Ah, speaking of which… there is no photographer at the school. If you have any non-participants with you, they can sit in the stands (as "barbarians") and do photographic duty. In our group of 4 two were gladiators, two barbarians. The "barbarians" were also able to take a few photos of the other couple who were with us, using their camera. Even if there aren't any barbarians with you, the sense of fraternity that being in Gladiator school evokes means that I'm sure that your fellow gladiators would be happy to take some shots of you with your camera. Before they try to kill you, that is. The other couple had flown over from London for a long weekend. (An issue that creates no small amount of jealousy when one has to spend 24 hours in metal tubes to get there, as I do.) He was the only official student but during the training there were times when four were needed, so his partner was brought in as an unofficial gladiatrix.

You don't need to be a peak conditioned athlete to do the class, but the fitter you are the more you'll enjoy it. I elected not to do the ground rolls / somersaults during the warmup laps because it had been too long since I had done that sort of thing, but had I known that they were coming I would probably have hit the gym or a yoga class or two (yes, seriously) ahead of time.

My original plan was to go from here to Eataly, a food hypermarket / collection of restaurants, just down the road near the Roma Ostiense rail station. But I suggest scratching the idea of going on to anywhere else directly from here. You will be hot, a little sweaty (though there is a decent enough cool down period at the end as you go through the museum) and dirty (somewhat; the school tunics will bear the brunt of that) and there are no showers or changing rooms at the school, so your only plan should be to get back to your base in Rome to get showered and changed before heading on to your next destination. The school will arrange for taxis to pick you up if you need them.

The School: You wait for class to begin near a wooden fort and a meeting hall, which has photos of famous and less famous visitors to the school. There's the obligatory cut-out of a legionary that you can stand behind for a photograph. A little cheesy perhaps, but fun.

You are then introduced to your instructor; in our case it was one of the female members of the school whose name, I regret to say, has slipped from my mind for the moment but who approached her job with such enthusiasm and humour that it magnified the enjoyment of the day immensely. She began by telling us that since she herself is a fully trained gladiator, "that means that I CAN hurt you".

Class begins in a training area which has undercover seating for the "barbarians" who are with you, if any. You are, thankfully, provided with a bottle of water. You begin by doing laps around a training field which involves, amongst other things, ducking under ropes, jumping across another rope from one side to another then back repeatedly, dodging swinging weights and running through ladders... and the aforementioned somersaulting. This is followed by hauling some lumber across your shoulders to build up your leg muscles and flexibility, and since you probably won't have done this right then you will most likely need to drop for some push-ups.

I'm not sure how this would go in the blistering heat of mid summer, though it was right at the end of summer when we went and we did not have a single day under 30 degrees C on our trip. I didn't really find it to be a problem, though. On a rainy day... that I'm not so sure about.

Next, it's time to learn basic legionary skills like how to create a legionary formation and rotate the lines as you are being attacked by barbarians. Yes, I know that gladiators, as such, did not do this. That isn't the point; this is all about the entire feel of the era. Your instructor will train you how to rotate as she plays the part of the barbarian attackers though I would imagine that in some larger classes groups are pitted against each other on an alternative attack/defend basis.

Next, it's time to learn basic one on one sword and shield skills with wooden swords. It helps if you remember which side is right and which is left. (You'll understand when you get there.) Later on you can progress to the use of iron swords, but I imagine that they make sure that nobody shows signs of craziness with the wooden swords first.

You may also need to assemble some wooden anti-cavalry devices. Fail, and you will be dropping to the ground to do push-ups. Eh, I needed the exercise anyway.

Of course, being a gladiator is not all about what you can do to them but also what they can do to you. Learning to die with honour is part of that. I'm waiting to see whether I've won an Academy Award nomination for my own performance. I think I earned it. But then so did all of the others when their turn came. It's one of those rare examples where you can "die" with a genuine smile on your face.

This is a general overview only; the specifics may vary a little from class to class.

The one exercise that I didn't mention is smiling. Looking at the photos from our barbarians I see that all participants, including me, tend to do that. A lot.

Once the class is over it's time to visit the extensive museum to see and be told the history of equipment from the era, as well as to try some of it on. You will be astounded at the weight of some of it.

Finally, it's time to receive your certificates and your gladiator name.

Reading over this I'm not sure that I've done justice to it. I've covered the main points of it but this is very different to your ordinary history tour; you become part of it, you don't just observe it.

I was extremely surprised that there were only three (official) people in our class. I think part of the problem is that a lot of people just don't know it exists because the response, when I've told friends about it, is "Woah, that sounds cool". And indeed, it is. The other possibility is that some mistakenly believe that it's a "kids only" activity, as mentioned earlier.

My only gripe about it is that if I want to go back ("if"? "IF"?? Did I just type that?) then it's another 24 hours of travel.
Written December 24, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AlohaGirl84
Virginia306 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2012 • Couples
My boyfriend and I did this in December 2012 on the last full day of our week in Rome and really enjoyed our experience with the Scuola Gladiatori di Roma. We also took the #218 bus (from the bus depot near the San Giovanni metro stop) and had no trouble finding the school - it's not far from where the bus drops you off on the Via Appia Antica and there is a sign on the street that directs you down a small side street to the entrance of the school. The school was supposed to have the feel of Roman barracks so it wasn't going to be luxurious by any means (as some people have complained about on other TripAdvisor reviews of the Gruppo Storico Romano - which runs the school) and we knew that going in (it was still pretty cool - there was an arena and stands and other small buildings in this complex). We got there a little early and watched as our instructor, Paolo, finished up his lesson with another client (a family with a teenaged son) and waited in the little museum. Although I was worried that we would be too old for this kind of thing (we are in our late 20s), Paolo put my mind at ease by telling us about the variety of people who had done the school before (including two older siblings who LOVED the fighting aspect of the school and felt the need to show it:))

He spent the next 1.5 hours walking us through all the artifacts of the museum and laying out the history of the Roman gladiators and Rome itself. This was really great since my boyfriend and I are history buffs and got to see replicas of armor, helmets (which we got to try on) uniforms, weapons, models of large machinery/weapons, jewelry, statues, tools, diaramas of encampments/battles, coins, military standards, etc. Paolo spoke about the role of the gladiators and legionnaires in the Roman empire and since we had been to the Colosseum a few days prior, this really solidified our understanding of this time period. He also gave us tips about how to learn more about Roman history and about the Gruppo Storico Romano (which is a group of history enthusists and re-enactors who are endorsed by the university's historical society and are often commissioned by the Roman government to perform gladiator fights, dances, reenactments during holiday celebrations, festivals and historical anniversaries).

Although I really enjoyed all this, I'm afraid that all the talking spilled into our training time, and I wish I had spoken up about it. Paolo taught us a few basic moves and blocks and then let us go at it (he was also kind enough to videotape our "battle" with both of our cameras and made sure we had time to take some good pictures). However, for the price (150 euros for 2 hours for the both of us), I would have liked to have spent more time training (I also thought we would be learning more maneuvers and conditioning-type work so that's why I rated this 4 out of 5). I would recommend asking about that when you email them to inquire about the schedule (I should note that GSR was very responsive to my emails when I was planning this activity, I just didn't think to ask this), and maybe bring it up before you start your session. All in all, I was very pleased with this experience and would recommend it to folks with kids or to folks who like history and want some hands-on action in the gladiator ring! As mentioned in another review, we also visited the small restaurant just up the street afterward, and had an excellent meal there. I would recommend that too:)
Written February 6, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrew T
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
If you have children, especially boys, the Gladiator School is well worth a visit. This is a genuine gem hidden at the side of the Via Appia Antica. It is run by the official Rome historical reenactment society. Our guide was the excellent Paolo, who took us through the fantastic little museum. Our boys got to try on the replica helmets, both Roman army and gladiator types, and learned lots of interesting bits of information. After that, we all had a go at the gladiator training, which wasn't too demanding but which was a great deal of fun. The school is a little off the centre, but don't let this put you off. We got the Metro to San Giovanni and walked (about 30 mins), but you could take a bus or taxi. On the way back, we went along the Via Appia Antica, which was a lovely walk down to Circo Massimo Metro. So, make sure you take your kids to the Gladiator School - they will love it, and so will you
Written April 7, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chicago123456789
Chicago, IL1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
This is a difficult review for me to write as I thought this was one of the highlights of our trip to Italy and Rome..my son was sooo excited to participate as he is in the full throws if his fascination with Roman and Greek mythology..I thought the explanation and description of the role of gladiators was great and demonstration of the weapons and armor was amazing..as we went to the gladiator arena the kids were full of excitement and participated fully learning the moves of the gladiator and dueling with harmless wooden swords.. It was during the certificate ceremony where the children received a diploma and received their new roman names that the experience took a turn for the worse..the instructor asked each participant to raise their right hand in the form of the nazi salute and say their new roman names..in describing how to do the salute he asked the audience if they knew who hitler was.. A boy raises his hand and says "yeh that's the nazi that killed like 3000 Jews"..I was in shock and I was angry.. What should have been an amazing conclusion to a wonderful 2 hours turned out to be a shameful racist demonstration by one instructor..
..
Written April 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LaBGO
Bergen, Norway31 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2011
My 10 years old boy loved it and asked if we could return there every day of our trip! The instructor was great and the language was not a problem at all - my son does not speak Italian and is not fluent in English. It's the perfect mix of fun, History and exercise. A tip: the kids get a little dirty with sand so you should plan a stop at the hotel after the training. I super recommend the gladiator school!!!
Written June 26, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mummy Travels
London, UK250 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
A very fun couple of hours learning more about gladiators and getting chance to show off our fighting skills - after seeing the Colosseum and taking some tours of Ancient Rome, this felt like the perfect conclusion by getting to relive it. Our teacher was great, explaining more about the realities of life as a gladiator with some history of the Roman legions thrown in, before all the kids in the group were dressed up in varying armour depending on the gladiator fighting style.

Then out into the training yard to warm up (including unexpected press ups!) and to learn some technique with wooden swords, before we were allowed to duel - eventually winning our reward of Roman citizenship.

It's worth knowing that this is a couple of miles from the Colosseum, close to the Catacombs (and the tickets do suggest taking a taxi, which cost 10 Euros, while the transfer return to Piazza Navona was 15) - there are a couple of bus routes, but having waited around 40 minutes for the 118 which simply never came, I wouldn't rely on it!

It's also - there's no getting away from this - a pricy option, with tickets for two costing more than the 3h tour we did another day. But it's definitely memorable and the chance to poke your family (and total strangers) with padded swords is one of the most unusual things I've done in Rome!
Written February 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Gladiator School of Rome - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

Frequently Asked Questions about Gladiator School of Rome

Gladiator School of Rome admission prices can vary. Entrance tickets currently cost $27.26, while a popular guided tour starts around $81.79 per person.

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