2023 Alameda International Italy Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2023 Alameda International Italy Program! We have created two webpages dedicated to this exciting program so that travelers are as informed as possible throughout the process. The Pre-Enrollment page is meant to share exciting details, highlights and pertinent info that participants will want to know before enrolling.  Once enrolled, the Post-Enrollment page, will prepare travelers for participation on the adventure ahead. We hope you're excited for Italy!
Travel Dates: March 17, 2023 - March 26, 2023
Dates are tentative
Group Organizer(s):
  • Kit Hinders
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,590 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Estimated Airfare: $1,200

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.

Itinerary

We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers and given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
1USA -Rome, ItalyFly from USA to Rome, Italy.In Flight
2Arrival in RomeWe’ll arrive in the Eternal City by late morning. Today we'll get our bearing in Rome by exploring on foot. We'll see the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona as we meander through Rome's Centro Storico. Of course we'll also grab some much needed gelato as our snack- the first of many. Rome Garden Hostel
3RomeToday we'll dedicate our day to the archeological treasures of ancient Rome. Guided by an actual archeologist, we'll explore the Coliseum, The Ancient Forum, and Palatine Hill. We'll also see a number of lesser-known sites, hidden in the narrow streets such as the very spot where Julius Caesar was killed. How about real Italian pizza for dinner?Rome Garden Hostel
4RomeToday we’ll explore Rome’s Jewish Ghetto stopping by the Campo de’Firori, translated literally from Italian the “Field of Flowers Square” . We'll also visit the Piazza Navona; crowned by the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, as well as by an Egyptian obelisk and two other fountains. We’ll head over to the Testaccio Market for lunch to savor homemade ravioli, gelato, meats and cheese, fried risotto and all kinds of pasta! We'll also work off our food as we continue to see sights in both Testaccio and in the Jewish Ghetto on foot.Rome Garden Hostel
5PompeiiWe’ll head down to Pompeii today to discover the secrets held by the ancient Roman city destroyed by the nearby volcano, Mt. Vesuvius in 80 AD. Rome Garden Hostel
6RomeWe’ll start the day on the Spanish steps and continue into the Villa Borghese park to get a view from Rome from the terraces that overlook the city. After a picnic in the park, we’ll have a short lesson on olive oil! We’ll learn how to tell the quality stuff from the imposters and we’ll get to taste some unique things including chocolate made with olive oil! Before dinner, we’ll go underground into the Catacombs of Priscilla.Rome Garden Hostel
7Rome - SienaNext up, Siena! Here we'll engage with "Le Mura" association which is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the city's Medieval walls. A local leader will take us on a walk through the city's lesser known areas and will give us a short lesson on SIena's remarkable past and present. Siena Hotel
8SienaToday, we'll roll up our sleeves and get to work on a section of the Medieval walls in Siena that need some serious help due to a number of invasive plant species. Most of the setions where the group works are in ares that aren't normally accessible to the greater public. We'll work in the morning alongside local volunteers before it gets too hot and then break for lunch. In the afternoon Mike will explain more about the past, present and future of the city's walls and how the "Le Mura" wall organization's work has impacted the city. Siena Hotel
9Siena - RomeToday, we will wake up early and get a bus back to Rome. We will have the afternoon to explore the Vatican city and St. Peter's Basilica. In the evening, our last Italian meal will be our best yet!Rome Garden Hostel
10Rome DepartureArrivederci Italia!!!Your own bed, eventually!

Fundraising

Need to Raise Money? We Have You Covered.

Walking Tree Travel is proud to team up with Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative that distributes organic coffee, tea, sugar, bananas, avocados, cocoa, chocolate bars, and more.  There is no limit to the amount you can earn, so the sooner you can start, the better!

Learn more here.

WTT coffee

Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe.  We vet and inspect the accommodations to ensure they uphold the ethos of our programs, are great values for our travelers and nice places to rest after enriching days of travel.  

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
Rome Garden Hotel

The Rome Garden Hotel is the perfect accommodation that marries peace and relaxation, characteristic of a reserved and suggestive location, with the commodity of a central position, in the heart of the bustling metropolis of Rome. The hotel is located in the vicinity of Porta Pia on Via Nomentana, in the elegant area of the consular and diplomatic premises. It’s a Patrician villa of the XIX century, entirely modernized and surrounded by a private garden and only a few steps from the splendid frame of Villa Torlonia. It is also the perfect location for art lovers, with the nearby park of Villa Borghese and its prestigious gallery, which houses the famous sculptures of Bernini, being easily reachable on foot from the hotel.

Hotel Moderno a Siena

Hotel Moderno is a family run hotel located in the center of Siena. The hotel is located just steps away from the historic center of town and students will feel transported back to old-world Italy. Students will be grouped by gender in double or triple rooms based on availability. Each room has Wifi and air conditioning. Breakfast will be provided at the hotel each morning.

Group Flight

Once your flight has been confirmed, the itinerary will appear here.

Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.

Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, and travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION, DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel can be unpredictable.  Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route.  Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night.  Our primary role will be to  keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a  quick and effective resolution.

Host Community and Project Details

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The list below should cover everything you would need, but know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with.  We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.

Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination. 

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!

CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :

  • Underwear
  • Socks (a mixture of good active socks and casual socks)
  • T-shirts (some quick dry)
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Sweaters or sweatshirts
  • Underwear
  • Shorts
  • Rain jacket
  • Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
  • Comfortable, everyday pants
  • Nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
  • Durable athletic/walking shoes
  • Sandals (optional)
  • Hat

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:

  • Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Band Aids and Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Medication in properly marked original container

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Sunglasses
  • Journal and pen
  • Book
  • Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
  • Power Converter
  • Alarm Clock and watch
  • Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
  • Durable water bottle
  • 1 quick-dry towel
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Batteries
  • Deck of cards or other portable games
  • STUDENT ID

Support Team

At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

Devin Toletti
Devin Toletti
Italy Country Director; Germany Country Director


Bologna University – B.A. Political Science and International Relations

Born to an Italian father and a Canadian-Austrian mother, Devin grew up in Varese which is in Northern Italy between Milan and Switzerland. He grew up with a love for winter sports, dividing his winters between hockey and skiing. In summer he would enjoy mountain biking around the Alps and try to water ski as much as possible. After finishing school, in the English section of the European School, he went to Bologna University and achieved a B.A in Political Science and International Relations. In Bologna he also discovered his passion for food and teaching. Devin is now living in the exciting capital of Germany, Berlin, where he is a bike tour guide, part time cook, and English teacher.

Luke Mueller
Luke Mueller
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History

During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Luke has since traveled to over 60 countries on five different continents.  Now settled in Denver with his family, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans.

Group Roster

Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.

Blog and Communication

During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program.  Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.

Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.

 

GLC Curriculum

Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1.  Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of, or are consuming, or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety.
  4. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo.
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
  3. Threatening physical or emotional harm, or brandishing a weapon.
  4. Possessing, consuming, or distributing tobacco or nicotine, including vape pens.
  5. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  6. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew.
  7. Breaking group rules.

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Italy website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with  two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.

To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by getting a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.

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