Today was our last full day in Rome. We started the day with “Learn How to Be a Gladiator” training at the Gruppo Storico Romano. The school is run by people who do Roman Empire reenactments. They have mock ups of Roman armor, uniforms, weapons, and even siege engines! Our training began when Marco came out to introduce himself has our trainer in a drill instructor like manner. He played a humorous character: a Roman Legionnaire from the first century.
Our training group was made up of ourselves, two American families with children, and two women from Finland. After the introductions we went into their museum where he went over Roman legion weapons, siege engines and tactics. Soon he transitioned to talking about the gladiator games. Ryan was selected to wear the gladiatorial helmet. We moved outside for the more physical training. We first had to do a few laps around a short course of ducking and weaving under a rope, dodging swinging sandbags, jumping an obstacles, somersaults and push ups. Most people did not actually do the last part.
Next we were separated into groups of adults and children. The children had to toss around light bean bags to each other quickly without letting them drop. The penalty was push-ups. The adults had a similar tasks, but with more bags, that were filled with much heavier rocks. While this may sound intense, it was all in good fun and there was never any real danger.
The last part of the session was the main event: gladiatorial combat. Marco started with having the children bout against one another. He brought out dulled bronze short swords. The adults looked at each other nervously, with Ryan saying “So it really is all fun and games until someone loses an eye”. Marco having done this many times before, started the bout and then quickly stopped it to pull out the real sparring weapons. These new weapons were made out of cardboard tubes wrapped in duct tape. Much more appropriate.
The matches progressed much as one would expect. The children fought each other and the winner took on a mother. She won and then fought a tall, young former military Finnish woman named Olga. She soundly defeated the mother and then the father usually by hitting the legs. Ryan was next up. He kept on the move, and made liberal use of feints to take her down.
The battle royale was between Ryan and Rachel. Ryan had a distinct advantage in that he already had one fight, had the sun behind, and aced Fencing with Foils in college. Rachel however wanted it more, was determined and has great hand-eye-coordination. Bards will sing songs for ages about that gladiatorial death match. We simply can no do it justice to describe it here. Perhaps these pictures can tell the story.
When the training concluded we were all saluted with honor given certificates making us Roman citizens. Following training, we went to Forum and explored the ruins. Rachel took lots of pictures (as usual).
Following that we went back to the Jewish Ghetto for a very late lunch. We ate at Trattoria da Giggetto, having the fried artichoke and fried zucchini. We returned to the hotel in the later afternoon to relax by the pool and pack.
Tomorrow we meet up with Rachel’s parents at the airport then take the train to Venice.
Today’s weather: partly cloudy 79/70 F
Total Steps Taken (fitbit): 14,340
Total Pictures Taken so far: 1317