Okay, 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.
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.
There 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.
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?