When in Rome... work out! This Italian resort makes you feel like a movie star

By Jené Luciani
April 19, 2012

If you think gladiators only existed in ancient Rome and the movies, think again! A luxurious Italian resort is offering guests a fighting chance at becoming contenders. It's a unique exercise program that's being referred to as a ‘grueling test of endurance' and has reportedly been enjoyed by the likes of George Clooney, Julia Roberts, John Travolta, Leonardo DiCaprio, Neil Patrick Harris, and Shakira.

At The Rome Cavalieri's Gladiator Training Program, participants learn gladiator techniques like sword fighting while wearing tunics (and yes, those sandals) and using authentic weaponry! Here's an inside look into this modern day take on an ancient pastime.

Gladiator School


First, gladiator trainees are schooled on ancient Roman life and culture and learn about traditional weapons like the Gladius (the sword) and the Trident, a three-pronged spear.

Attacking and Defending


In this phase, gladiator wannabes learn how to be skilled opponents while getting fit through the use of weighted objects in their hands such as shields or swords. Combine that with bodyweight calisthenics and the resistance is intense! The powerful combination of moving your own body around through squatting, pushing, and twisting, and moving objects like a heavy shield, provides a full-body workout.

Stances, Strikes, and Movements


Next comes proper stances, strikes, and movements. The constant swinging of the wooden sword helps sculpt shoulders, arms, and back, while bobbing, weaving ,and lunging away from your opponent help to tone the lower body. Various sword manoeuvres are taught, including thrusting, cutting, and slicing (ouch!). Even defensive moves pack some punch-all that dodging and twisting helps tone abs, arms, and legs!

Luckily, everyone in this program walks out of the arena in better shape, but relatively unscathed!