Complete with red skirts, tunics, armour, swords and feathered helmets, the protesting centurions clashed with police in front of the city’s tourist attraction, the Colosseum, built in the times of Ancient Rome.
The policemen arrived at the ancient amphitheatre to enforce an eviction notice to the men, who normally ask tourists for money in exchange for a photograph with them.
Italy’s culture ministry said the men had no permits and often harassed and stalked tourists in addition for asking for exorbitant amounts of money.
Clashes with police broke out when city police arrived to remove two centurions who had occupied part of an arcade.
Some 25 centurions tried to stop the police, but during the scuffles, one of the protesters fell to his feet and was slightly injured.
Some onlookers joined in the protest in support of the centurions, saying: “Leave them alone. We are all centurions”.