Rome with Teens

Rome with teens Roman gladiator school

Part 1 in my Italy Series: Rome, Florence & Tuscany, Venice

Italy (and especially Rome) is a fantastic place to take your teens, especially if they are “Assassins Creed” lovers and have any interest in history and culture. In this travel series, I am going to discuss three different Italian cities that are interesting for teens and suggest great activities and sights that they will love!

Let’s start with Rome. My teens and I arrived in Rome and took the Leonardo Express train in to the city. From the train station, it was a quick walk to our hotel, Hotel Diocleziano. The hotel offers a great breakfast each morning, it is close to public transportation, and the rooms were very comfortable and quiet.

Roman Gladiator School

My two kids, (OK, only one is a teen) were 16 and 20 at the time. Their ultimate, all-time favorite part of our entire trip was a class at the Roman Gladiator School. The class started with a tour of the museum that showcased weapons and uniforms of Roman gladiators and soldiers. The kids got to try on helmets and costumes, and hold swords and other weapons.

Rome with Teens dressed up in Roman soldier costumes at Gladiator School
Dressed as Roman Soldiers in the Museum
Fancy head dresses in the museum (and spears, of course)

We then went outside to start the training. We were extremely fortunate that the class just had my two kids, so the amazing instructor worked them to their abilities. They started with a cross-fit type warm up, and then he took them through training with small swords, long swords, throwing spears, shields, etc. He taught them all sorts of moves and then allowed them to “fight” each other.

Rome with teens gladiator training
Learning moves from their awesome instructor
video of teens in Rome fighting with swords at Gladiator school
Learning to use spears and shields
teens using spears at Roman Gladiator School
The final fight to decide the victor

At the end they even got to use metal swords. Then he had them each fight me (I, of course, had only been watching and did not get the same training, so they pretty much slaughtered me). The class was top-notch the whole way through. I highly recommend this place, especially for older kids. It was truly fabulous.

kid fighting mom at Roman Gladiator school
I never had a chance!

Rome by Night Tour

When we first got there, I knew we would be jet-lagged. In order to get our bearings and see a lot of places quickly, we booked a private tour to take us around Rome, Rome by Night through Viator. On this tour, we got out to see several sights, then back in the car quickly and covered a lot of locations in a short time. This was a great tour, as it didn’t take too much out of us and gave us a great overview of Rome.

teens by Trevi Fountain Rome by Night tour
Trevi Fountain at night
Teens by Roman Coliseum at night
Coliseum and Roman Forum stop on our “Rome by Night” tour

The Coliseum

Another of their favorites was of course the Coliseum. We booked a VIP tour for multiple levels of the Coliseum and a tour of the Roman Forum through Walks of Italy. With our VIP entry, we didn’t have to stand in boring long lines for entrance to either. We also got to go underneath the Coliseum floor to see the elevators and underground staging areas. Very cool!

teens with mom at Roman Coliseum

Nero’s Golden Palace “Domus Aurea” Tour

Another favorite was a tour of Nero’s Golden House, the “Domus Aurea.” We booked an underground hard-hat tour from Through Eternity Tours. Our tour guide showed us the remains of Nero’s beautiful palace that was filled in and then used as a base for Roman baths above it. His house was so big that the Colisseum was built over the house’s decorative lake. You can still see the remains of ancient roman paintings on the walls and ceilings, some of which were discovered during the early Renaissance that inspired “Grotesque”-styled paintings. This artwork strongly influenced Raphael and Michelangelo when they lowered themselves down into what everyone thought at the time was just a cave, or grotto. It was very cool to see these ancient paintings and to imagine how the palace once looked. Our tour even included a 3D experience of a reconstruction of the original palace, which was pretty awesome.

teens wearing hard hats in Nero's palace tour Domus Aurea
Hard hats (and hair nets!) required in Nero’s Golden House
vaulted round room in Nero's palace Domus Aurea tour
Huge, round, vaulted room in Nero’s Palace

Catacombs and Crypts Tour

In the same “grotesque” vein, the Catacombs and the Crypts tour was also fascinating. The first part of the tour took us out of the city to the Roman Catacombs, where ancient Romans and early Christians buried their dead. We then went back into the city to the Capuchin Crypts, which were very interesting. The tour went through room after room of various bones of deceased Capuchin monks arranged in all sorts of designs—wall sconces, chandeliers, altar pieces, and other decor. Very creepy, but fascinating!

Rome is a beautiful city, and of course the food can’t be beat for most teens—you can always find pizza and pasta somewhere! We visited many other sights in addition to these, but I would say that they enjoyed these the most. I think it also helps to have a tour guide explain things to them along the way. I usually don’t book tours when it is just me and my husband traveling, but in this case, I think the tours were really great and worthwhile. Rome is an amazing destination for a family trip. In my next post, I will talk about Florence and Tuscany with teens. Check back here next Wednesday for the next post, and as always, feel free to share, leave comments, ask questions, and/or follow me on social media or on here (WordPress). Thanks for reading!

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