FX Excursions

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

Archaeological Dig, Pompeii

by Susan Van Allen

Aug 1, 2017
August 2017

TO BE IMMERSED IN A PLACE that 2,000 years ago was halted forever in time is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring travel experiences. Such are the ruins of Pompeii in Italy, south of Naples. Within the five square miles of this former vibrant port town, the fascinating story of how ancient Romans lived, thrived and suddenly died during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 has captivated travelers for centuries.

Pliny the Younger, an eyewitness survivor of the explosion, described in letters a shocking scene on that long-ago August day, when a plume in the shape of an umbrella pine tree emerged from the mountain, a dark cloud poured across the land, screaming residents struggled to flee and, finally, when the mayhem stopped: “The sight that met our terrified eyes was a changed world, buried in ash like snow.”

Pompeii remained buried under 30 feet of ash until the mid-18th century, when farmers digging for water accidentally came upon the ruins of Herculaneum, a smaller nearby town also destroyed by the Mount Vesuvius eruption.

Teatro Piccolo


With much curiosity, Pompeii excavations began in 1748, and over the centuries archaeologists uncovered splendid treasures amid its densely packed buildings: sumptuously frescoed villas with intricate mosaic floors and sculptures along with bars, bakeries, laundries and shops. The town had a great social scene — there are three theaters (one for music, another for plays, a large amphitheater for gladiator games) and a brothel with entertaining frescos that illustrate services offered. In classic Roman style, there is an impressive forum — their version of a public square — with marketplaces and temples to honor the gods, as well as bathing establishments with the remains of intricate heating systems.

What draws visitors in emotionally to Pompeii are the skeletons that have been preserved as plaster casts. They are figures caught in terrifying moments before their death: a man crouched with hands overhead, a woman in the midst of a horrific scream, a twisted dog. “Though it may at first appear morbid, these figures tell us personal stories and bring a deeper element of humanity to someone’s experience of Pompeii,” says Fiorella Squillante, a guide for the Vesuvius vs Pompeii tour company.

About 2.5 million travelers visit Pompeii annually. As its paths are labyrinthine and highlights spread over its 163 acres, having a good guide is necessary for a fulfilling experience. Vesuvius vs Pompeii is an excellent, full-service choice.



“Now is the best time to visit Pompeii in decades,” says Squillante. Thanks to the recent Great Pompeii Project that put millions of euros toward restoration, buildings that had been closed for a long time finally reopened — such as the luxurious House of the Vettii and House of Venus, which features a gorgeous garden fresco of the goddess lounging on a clam shell. Also freshly restored are the extensive laundry establishment, Fullonica of Stephanus, and House of the Bear, a former wealthy man’s residence featuring fabulous mosaics.

Vesuvius vs Pompeii guides are native Neapolitans, passionate about sharing their homeland with travelers. “All our tours are customized according to the client, and we love to work with families, so adults and children have an experience in Pompeii they will never forget,” says Squillante. “We give drawing classes to the little ones and can provide for the disabled. Most importantly, our tours tell stories. As we move along, you’ll see details of ancient graffiti that many travelers miss, we’ll let you in on the spicy stories of Pompeii residents, tell you about the social life, how slaves and women fit into the fabric of 79 A.D. society here.”

The company also offers tours of the Naples Archaeological Museum, which displays treasured frescos, mosaics and artifacts from Pompeii. And guides love to share with you the culinary pleasures of the region, from the best pizza in Naples to delicious pastas and pastries.

Grapes at Sorrentino Vini

Grapes at Sorrentino Vini © SORRENTINO VINI WINERY

Thanks to fertile volcanic soil on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, wineries have flourished here since the days of the Roman Empire. Following that great tradition, just 10 minutes from Pompeii you’ll discover Sorrentino Winery, family-run for three generations. It produces award-winning wines that range from the classic red Lacryma Christi to white Falanghina, as well as innovative sparkling wines. The warm and welcoming staff provides transportation to and from the Pompeii site, so you can visit for a delicious lunch with wine tasting.

Then you are free to stroll through the vineyards, taking in the stunning view of Mount Vesuvius, the powerful force of Mother Nature that both destroyed and abundantly nurtured this beautiful land.

Pompeii Info to Go

Domestic and international flights arrive at Naples International Airport, about 18 miles north of Pompeii. Bus service to Pompeii costs about $13, taxis about $52. There is also the Circumvesuviana train from Naples city center or the newer Campania Express. Purchase the Campania>ArteCard online for entrance to museums and archaeological sites in the region.


FX Excursions

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

Dec 14, 2019

Four Reasons You Should Go to Taipei’s Pride Parade

In May this year, Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. In celebration, Taipei’s annual Pride Parade was especially festive, with 170,000–250,000 people in attendance — a record number for what was already the biggest pride parade in Asia.

Earn and Redeem with oneworld

oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.

Dec 14, 2019

New Four Seasons Property Planned for New Orleans

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts plans to open a new hotel and private residences in New Orleans in late 2020. The first Four Seasons property in New Orleans is slated to open inside the World Trade Center, adjacent to Ernest N. Memorial Convention Center. The World Trade Center is currently undergoing renovations, with plans including a new podium and public spaces. The hotel plans feature four food and beverage outlets, retail space, a spa, rooftop pool and meeting and event spaces.

Goway Offers Travelers Journey of a Lifetime

Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Dec 14, 2019

New InterContinental Yokohama Property Opens

InterContinental Yokohama Pier 8 opened as the second InterContinental property in Yokohama earlier this fall. The property, with its 173 guestrooms and suites, provides a relaxing atmosphere away from the hubbub of the city with views of the waterfront.

Dec 13, 2019

American Airlines Launches Mobile App Passport Scanning

American Airlines now provides a passport-scanning feature on its mobile app. American Airlines is the first airline to offer a service of this kind. The passport chip-scanning feature transmits passport information to the airline, so passengers do not need a customer service agent to recheck their passports when arriving at the airport for international flights.

Athens: A city that charms its guests and stirs their emotions

The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.

Dec 13, 2019

JW Marriott Debuts in the Maldives

JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa opened on Vagaru Island, part of the Shaviyani atoll in the Maldives, last month.