FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

The Best Places in Italy to Learn about the Ancient Romans

by Barbara Rogers

Jan 12, 2020

Photo: Stillman Rogers


The Roman Empire spread throughout Italy and across much of Europe, so it’s not surprising relics of their ancient world are found beyond just Rome. In fact, some of the best places for kids to get a sense of how the ancient Romans lived are elsewhere in Italy.


It’s true, in Rome they’ll see the grandeur that was Imperial Rome in impressive public monuments and buildings like the Colosseum and Palatine Hill, the Arch of Tutus and ruins of the Forum. But in these grand public buildings they get little sense of how people lived. Homes, shops and places where local people gathered bring history to life for kids, who can relate on a more personal level and compare to their own lives.



In AD 17, when Vesuvius exploded and engulfed both Pompeii and Herculaneum, it covered the former in ash, but engulfed Herculaneum in molten lava, encasing the entire town in a solid mass of pumice and ash 30–40 feet thick. This deep, airtight seal protected the buildings, contents and even art from plundering weather and inept early excavation methods. And, when at last it was excavated, the artifacts were not stripped and sent to city museums as they were at Pompeii, so everything is still there.


Instead of heavy falling ash crushing and collapsing buildings as in Pompeii, lava filled Herculaneum like rising water, supporting walls and roofs as it rose. So you’ll see multi-storied homes, staircases and doors in place, along with wooden furniture, textiles and even food, telling us about everyday life here. Colorful frescoes paint the walls of patrician homes and the village bakery has bronze baking pans and ovens and grain mills in its yard. Weaver’s and a dye shop still have the looms and dye pots; drinking cups stand on the table in a neighborhood bar. Herculaneum is smaller and less crowded than Pompeii, with highlights closer together and easier to explore.


1st-century Roman Arena. Photo: Stillman Rogers


Villa Romana del Casale

Most ancient sites in Sicily are Greek, but in the town of Enna, a landslide buried a magnificent Roman villa, preserving it almost intact. One of the best-preserved anywhere in the Roman Empire, with 50 rooms excavated, the

Roman Soldiers at the Arena. Photo: Stillman Rogers

villa still includes most of the original decoration. More than 35,000 square feet of beautiful mosaic floors have been uncovered, with intricately detailed scenes from daily life, mythological themes and scenes of hunting wild animals used in gladiator contests. In the beautiful thermal baths kids learn about the Romans’ sophisticated system of heating and cooling water. The villa is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Arena di Verona (Roman Amphitheater)

Built about AD 290, Verona’s arena is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheaters. It retains four arches of the outer wall and the entire of the interior walls with vaulting seating intact. It is used for concerts, shows and, in the summer, for one of Europe’s most important opera festivals. Our kids loved being able to explore the vaulted walls and climb up into its stone seating to imagine the Roman spectacles that once took place here. In the summer they can pose (for a price) with fully costumed “gladiators” outside the arena. Because the arena is more complete than Rome’s Colosseum, with its floor in place, it’s easier to picture it in its original use.


Insta Feed
Jul 19, 2024

Disney Cruise Line to Offer Year-Round Cruises to Japan in 2029

Earlier this month, Walt Disney and Japan’s Oriental Land Co. announced plans to launch a new cruise ship that will sail from Tokyo in 2029. The ship, to be modeled after Wish, the largest vessel in Disney’s fleet, will have a maximum capacity of 4,000 passengers. The new ship will mark the cruise line’s ninth in its fleet.

Sunflower Accessibility Program Featured at O’Hare and Midway Airports

Travelers with invisible disabilities passing through O’Hare and Midway International Airports can now discreetly signal they need assistance thanks to a new Chicago Department of Aviation partnership that helps create more accessible and inclusive spaces.

Destinations / North America
Jul 18, 2024

Norfolk Botanical Gardens Loves Kids

Kids can travel around the world of plants in the WOW Children’s Garden at Norfolk Botanical Garden in Virginia, exploring environments as diverse as the African savannas and South American rain forest. The Passport Gardens are only one of the plant-centric experiences in this entire section designed for families.

Jul 18, 2024

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita Unveils Summer Programming

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita welcomes family travelers this summer with its Kids for All Seasons and KidsWell offerings. Throughout the summer, children 12 years old and under eat free and can enjoy activities ranging from practicing breathwork to teaching children the diverse nature found in the area. Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita is the perfect family-friendly destination for relaxation, education and making lifelong memories.

Travel to Madrid with the Family and Find Activities to Keep Everyone Happy!

If life were a city, it’d be Madrid. Sometimes it can be quite the challenge to find a destination just right for the whole family. Different tastes and ages make agreeing on where to go seem impossible. Unless, of course, the destination you have in mind is Madrid. With all of its new immersive museums, musicals, soccer stadiums and monuments like Royal Palace, anyone who suggests coming to the capital is sure to get a unanimous yes!

Jul 18, 2024

Family Fun at Radisson Blu Aruba

Looking for a tropical family vacation? Look no further than Radisson Blu Aruba, which recently introduced its Aruba Summer Fun offer. Rooms start at $288 per night, bringing Caribbean luxury and sophistication at an affordable price.