|I posted this on FB already but Drew was already over waiting for the but before the day even started.|
Our instructor at Gladiator School was Emmanuelo. We were in a group with another family with 3 kids from California - their parents weren't cool enough to participate. We started inside with a history of the Roman military and Gladiators. Emmanuelo was amusingly intimidating with the kids and grown ups. Romans were considerably shorter and smaller than many of the Northern Barbarians that they conquered. They used intelligent armour design and military tactics to overcome these weaknesses. For example, their helmets were designed so that a blow from above was deflected off to the side. They would frequently coat their swords with garlic (anti-coagulant effect) or horse manure (which carried typhus) to make their wounds more deadly. They also fought in regiments or lines with the least experience fighters in front (they were more expendable than the veterans). After 2 minutes of combat, the general would whistle and those men would fall to the back of the line with fresh fighters coming up to take over. He also went over the history of the Gladiator. They got their name from the Gladious, or sword, that they used. Contrary to what we had been told by other guides, there were professional gladiators. These men had usually started out as slaves or prisoners of war. After you won 20 matches you earned your freedom but many of these guys had nowhere to go (how far away was your country of origin? was your wife still waiting for you after all this time?) and being a gladiator offered some prestige so they would sign a new contract to work for themselves and pay rent to stay in the gladiator barracks. These bouts were more like wrestling of today - theatrical with wounds made to produce lots of blood but not much injury.
After our history lesson we went outside (where thankfully it was a little shaded) to receive our instruction. First we did some warm ups with running, push ups, jumping over obstacles, and dodging swinging bags filled with sand. Turns out my footwear was more inappropriate for the task at hand than my pants. I ended up crashing while jumping over obstacles and got a big knee boo boo so I ditched the shoes. We were then taught 4 offensive moves, practice our moves on a pole and then sparred.
|He is one big dude.|
|Drew and Trevor sparing. I think she won this round.|
|A good blow to the stomach|
|Mano e mano|
|Drew vanquishing her opponent from the other family|
|Drew and Trevor going after each other again.|
Our tour guide Carol was excellent. She has lived in Italy for 35 years but was born in the US so we didn't have to fight our way through an accent. She just showed us the highlights of the Vatican Museum and sat us down on a bench with her Ipad for a long chat about the Sistine Chapel. This was vital because you get herded through there like sheep and there is hardly time to look at it as you go through. You were allowed to take photos inside St. Peters but no flash so a lot of them are too dark.
|The kids enjoyed looking at the various Popemobiles|
|The ceiling of St. Peters|
|This is the body of Pope Innocent XI. According to our guide, his coffin was not long enough and they had to cut off his feet. His face and hands have lead masks covering them.|
|The Swiss Guard|