Farah Marini

Exploring Rome’s Gladiator School

Step back in time at Rome’s Gladiator School, where history and entertainment merge in the heart of Centro Storico.

Attraction Centro Storico
Replica of a Roman gladiator school in Centro Storico, Rome


Rome's Gladiator School is a unique attraction that lets you experience the life of a Roman gladiator. You can learn about the history, culture, and training of these ancient warriors, and even try some of their weapons and techniques. In this article, you will discover what to expect from your visit, how to prepare, and what to see and do at the Gladiator School.

Setting Expectations: Downsides and Time Considerations

The Gladiator School is not a typical museum or historical site. It is a hands-on, interactive, and fun activity that requires physical participation and enthusiasm. If you are looking for a quiet or passive experience, this might not be for you. However, if you are ready to unleash your inner gladiator, you will have a blast!

The Gladiator School is open every day from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, except on Mondays. You need to book your session in advance, either online or by phone. The sessions last for two hours and include a guided tour of the museum, a lesson on gladiator history and culture, and a training session with authentic weapons and armor. You can choose between different levels of difficulty and types of weapons, depending on your age and preference. The sessions are suitable for adults and children over six years old.

Tips for your visit of Rome's Gladiator School

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You will be moving around a lot, so make sure you are dressed appropriately. Avoid wearing sandals, flip-flops, or heels. You will also get a chance to wear some of the gladiator equipment, such as helmets, shields, and tunics, so make sure they fit over your clothes.
  • Bring water and snacks. The Gladiator School is located in a park outside the city center, so there are not many options for food and drinks nearby. You will also work up an appetite and thirst during your session, so it is advisable to bring some refreshments with you. There are vending machines and water fountains at the site, but they might not be enough.

If you want to make the most of your visit, you can also explore the surrounding area, which is rich in history and nature. You can visit the Appian Way, one of the oldest and most important roads in ancient Rome, where you can see ancient tombs, monuments, and catacombs. You can also enjoy the greenery and tranquility of the Caffarella Park, which is part of the larger Appian Way Regional Park. There are walking trails, bike paths, picnic areas, and archaeological sites to discover.

Practical Information

Opening Hours: The Gladiator School is open every day from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, except on Mondays. You need to book your session in advance.

How to Get There: The Gladiator School is located in Via Appia Antica 18, about 7 km from the city center. You can get there by bus (line 118 or 218), by metro (line A to Arco di Travertino or Colli Albani), or by taxi. The journey takes about 30 minutes.

Price: The price for a two-hour session is 55 euros per person for adults and 40 euros per person for children under 14 years old. The price includes the entrance to the museum, the lesson, the training session, and the use of equipment. You can pay by cash or credit card at the site.

Crowds: The Gladiator School can accommodate up to 30 people per session. The sessions are usually not very crowded, but they might be more popular during weekends and holidays. You can check the availability online or by phone before booking.

Weather Considerations: The Gladiator School is an outdoor activity that takes place in all weather conditions, except in case of heavy rain or snow. You should dress accordingly and bring sunscreen, hats, and umbrellas if needed. The site has a covered area where you can shelter in case of bad weather.

Photography: You are allowed to take photos and videos during your visit, as long as you do not disturb the other participants or the instructors. You can also ask the staff to take photos of you in action or posing with the equipment. You can share your photos on social media using the hashtag #gladiatorschoolrome.

Accessibility: The Gladiator School is accessible to people with disabilities, as long as they can move independently or with the help of a companion. The site has ramps, elevators, and adapted bathrooms. The museum and the training area are on the ground floor, and there are no stairs or obstacles. The equipment can be adjusted to fit different sizes and needs.

Facilities: The Gladiator School has a reception area, a gift shop, a locker room, and bathrooms. You can store your belongings in the locker room during your session, but you should not bring any valuables or fragile items. The site also has free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and heating.

Tours: The Gladiator School offers guided tours of the museum and the training area, as well as private sessions for groups, families, or special occasions. You can also combine your visit with other attractions in the area, such as the Appian Way, the Caffarella Park, or the Catacombs of San Callisto. You can contact the staff for more information and reservations.

Bringing Children: The Gladiator School is a great activity for children over six years old, who can learn and have fun at the same time. They can participate in the sessions with their parents or guardians, or join other children of their age group. The instructors are experienced and friendly, and they will make sure that everyone is safe and comfortable. The equipment is suitable for children, and they will receive a certificate of completion at the end of their session.

Bringing Pets: Pets are not allowed at the Gladiator School, for their own safety and for the respect of the other visitors. You should leave your pets at home or at your accommodation, or find a pet-sitter nearby.

These details are subject to change; please check the official website for the latest information

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Gladiator School in Rome?

    The Gladiator School in Rome is a modern reproduction of the Castrum (Roman military defense camp) and has a Gladiator Training Camp and a Gladiator Museum. At the Gladiator School, managed by Gruppo Storico Romano (Historic Roman Group), visitors can get the hang of Imperial Rome’s gladiator games and understand its history.

  • What can I do at the Gladiator School in Rome?

    You can participate in two-hour Roman gladiator training lessons led by members of the Historic Group of Rome. You can also hire gladiator clothing and weapons, get a free drink, and enjoy free entrance to the Gladiator School of Rome Museum. You can also visit the Ludus Magnus, the biggest gladiator school built by Emperor Domitian, which is located near the Colosseum.

  • How can I book a session at the Gladiator School in Rome?

    You can book online through the official website of the Gruppo Storico Romano or through various travel platforms. You can choose from different options such as group classes, private classes, family classes, or special events. You can also contact them by phone or email for more information .

Must see

  • The Colosseum

    The Colosseum is the most iconic symbol of ancient Rome and the place where gladiators fought for glory and survival. It was the largest amphitheater in the Roman world and could hold up to 80,000 spectators. You can admire its impressive architecture, learn about its history and secrets, and imagine the thrilling atmosphere of the gladiator games.

  • The Gladiator Museum

    The Gladiator Museum is located inside the Gladiator School and displays original and recreated memorabilia from Rome’s heyday of battling to the death. You can see authentic weapons, armor, helmets, shields, and costumes used by gladiators and other fighters. You can also learn about the different types of gladiators, their training methods, their rules, and their social status .

  • The Appian Way

    The Appian Way is one of the oldest and most important roads in ancient Rome. It connected Rome with southern Italy and beyond, and was used for military, commercial, and cultural purposes. It was also lined with monuments, tombs, villas, and catacombs. You can walk or bike along this historic road and admire its scenic beauty and archaeological treasures.

  • The Ludus Magnus

    The Ludus Magnus was the largest and most prestigious of the four gladiator schools in Rome. It was built by Emperor Domitian in the first century AD and could accommodate up to 3,000 gladiators. It was connected to the Colosseum by an underground passage and had a small arena for training and practice fights. You can visit the ruins of this impressive complex and see its layout, cells, barracks, and baths.

Lesser known stories and Interesting Facts

  • The Gladiator School was a prison

    The gladiators who trained at the school were not free men, but slaves or prisoners of war. They lived in harsh conditions, chained to their beds and subjected to brutal discipline. They had no choice but to fight for their lives in the arena.

  • The Gladiator School was a tourist attraction

    The school was not only a place of training, but also a spectacle for the public. Visitors could watch the gladiators practice, mock-fight, or even participate in staged battles. The school also had a museum, a gift shop, and a cafeteria.

  • The Gladiator School was a religious site

    The school was dedicated to the cult of Mithras, a Persian god of light and war. The gladiators were initiated into the mysteries of Mithras, and performed rituals in a secret underground temple. The temple was decorated with frescoes depicting scenes from the myth of Mithras.

  • The Gladiator School was a political tool

    The school was used by the emperors to display their power and generosity. The emperors sponsored lavish games, where thousands of gladiators fought and died for the entertainment of the masses. The emperors also granted pardons to some gladiators, who became celebrities and heroes.

  • The Gladiator School was a social experiment

    The school was a place where different cultures and classes interacted. The gladiators came from various regions of the empire, and spoke different languages. They learned to cooperate and respect each other, despite their differences. They also formed bonds of friendship and loyalty, sometimes even love.

Historical Background

The Gladiator School in Rome was founded by Emperor Domitian in the 1st century AD. It was located on the eastern bank of the Tiber river, near the Colosseum. It was the largest and most famous of the four gladiator schools in Rome, and could house up to 2,000 gladiators at a time.

The school was divided into four sections: the barracks, where the gladiators lived and slept; the training ground, where they practiced with wooden weapons; the armory, where they stored their real weapons and armor; and the hospital, where they received medical care. The school was surrounded by a high wall, with watchtowers and guards.

The school was run by a lanista, a manager who bought and sold gladiators. He hired trainers, doctors, priests, and other staff to take care of the gladiators. He also negotiated contracts with the organizers of the games, who paid him a fee for each gladiator he provided.

The school operated for about 300 years, until the decline of the Roman Empire and the abolition of gladiator games by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD. The school was abandoned and gradually fell into ruin. It was rediscovered in the 19th century by archaeologists, who excavated and restored part of it.

Nearby Restaurants

  • La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali A cozy family-run restaurant that serves traditional Roman cuisine with a modern twist. Try their signature dishes like cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta), saltimbocca (veal with prosciutto and sage), or tiramisu (coffee-flavored dessert).
  • L'Asino d'Oro A refined restaurant that offers creative dishes inspired by the regional flavors of Italy. Enjoy their seasonal menu that changes every week, featuring specialties like pumpkin ravioli, lamb stew, or chocolate cake.
  • Pizza Forum A casual pizzeria that makes thin-crust pizzas with fresh ingredients and wood-fired oven. Choose from their classic toppings like margherita (tomato sauce and mozzarella), capricciosa (ham, mushrooms, artichokes, and olives), or diavola (spicy salami).

Nearby Attractions

  • The Colosseum The iconic amphitheater that hosted the gladiator games and other spectacles. Explore its history and architecture, and imagine the roar of the crowd and the blood of the fighters.
  • The Roman Forum The ancient center of political, religious, and social life in Rome. Wander among the ruins of temples, basilicas, arches, and monuments, and learn about the legends and events that shaped the city.
  • The Palatine Hill The hill where Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, and where the emperors built their palaces. Admire the views of the city, and visit the museum that displays artifacts and mosaics from the imperial era.


The Gladiator School in Rome is a fascinating attraction that reveals a lot about the culture and history of ancient Rome. It is a place where you can experience the thrill and drama of the gladiator games, as well as the stories and secrets of the people who lived and died there. If you are looking for an adventure that will transport you back in time, don't miss this opportunity to visit the Gladiator School in Rome.