Reason #5359 to love Rome: Sports Day

Rome Sports Day - hockeyOkay, Sports Day (Giornata dello sport, in Italian) is held every year in Rome and it’s just so much fun. If you’re passing through Italy’s capital in October – and especially if you have kids in tow – you must stop by to enjoy this event.

It’s usually held the third Sunday of October in the heart of Ancient Rome – on the Via dei Fori imperiali, the road passing by the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Trajan’s Market.

This is the route the Roman legions used to parade along  to celebrate their victories and ancient Romans made their way along it to watch the blood sports in the Colosseum, but on a summer-like Sunday this October, thousands of kids were enjoying Sports Day (thankfully, minus the gladiatorial blood sports) along the picturesque Via dei Fori imperiali.

Rome Sports Day  - rugbyThousands of kids, both Romans and tourists strolling through the Forum, took part in this year’s event – kicking, punching, running, racing – and generally having a great time.

There was a rock climbing wall, a small soccer field, a tennis court, an area for go-kart racing, a rollerblading rink, a baseball batting cage, a field hockey area, a basketball court, gymnastics equipment, a boxing ring  and lots of demonstrations organized by Roman sporting clubs for kids – all of it set against the backdrop of stunning Roman antiquity.

Rome Sports Day - calcio, soccerThere was even a large section dedicated to traditional street games, where kids learned how to play the games their grandfathers and great-grandfathers played on urban streets throughout Italy, often using simple, carved wooden toys.

Instructors were on hand to explain their sports to kids. The rugby players showed undying patience, asking the kids to tackle them and knock them to the ground…. and the kids took them at their word. Yes, the players were pretty impressive, but fending off five kids at a time still takes a lot of patience.

Rome Sports Day - tennisThe tennis instructors had fast-as-lightening reflexes and managed to save dozens of errant balls from plunging below into the ancient ruins of Trajan’s market.

All in all, it was a fantastic day of fun and sports, all in a  beautiful setting. If you are passing through Rome in October, be sure to keep an eye out for the Sports Day events.

And, after dragging the kids in your life to all the sports along the Via dei Fori imperiali, why not stop off to enjoy a coffee with a view at the nearby Colle Oppio Park?


  1. Julia on November 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Lovely post, Kimberly. I ‘m out in all these gorgeous places every time I read you.

    • kimberlysullivan on November 4, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Thanks, Julia! I’m the same way. When I’m not travelling, I love armchair travelling – reading about others’ trips and gathering information for future journeys. If you come to Italy in October, your kids will love this!

  2. gaye leatherow hurst on February 23, 2013 at 4:46 am

    We were lucky to be in Rome when the sports day was held. We were SO impressed to see the kids involved in the games, without cell phones or video games! Is there any way I could find a complete list of all the activities that were offered

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