2023 High Point Italy Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2023 High Point Italy Program!  The Pre-Enrollment page is meant to share exciting highlights and important info that participants will want to know before signing up. If you enroll, you'll begin using the Post-Enrollment page which offers a greater level of detail.  Please be sure to review the information thoroughly and get excited for all that Italy has to offer!
Travel Dates: June 22, 2023 - July 3, 2023
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $3,290 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $1,675
Deadline(s): Please note that this program is not sponsored by or affiliated with High Point High School.

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, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

DayLocationActivityLodging
June 22USA - Milan, ItalyFly from USA to Milan, Italy, arrive the following day.Airplane
June 23MilanWe'll likely arrive in the morning and transfer to our hotel before striking out on a guided tour of the city center during which we'll go on top of the Duomo, where you can see the Alps and the rest of the city. We'll have some great street food for lunch and visit the rest of the city sites like the Scala Theater and the Via Monte Napoleone (the street of Italian fashion) and have ice cream before retreating to our hotel to rest after our long journey.Ostello Bello Grande
June 24Milan - VeniceWe will start our Italian journey after having had an early night and a big breakfast! We will hop on the ultra fast train which will bring us directly into Venice, The City of Water. We will drop off out bags at the hotel and explore this magical city by foot, walking over many bridges and entering churches, and of course have a gondola ride! We will have some free time to visit Piazza San Marco and of course get Gelato. We will then head to dinner and have a good night rest before we have a very busy day tomorrow.Hotel Belle Epoque
June 25VeniceWe will start our day early and head to the “Palazzo Ducale” the Doges palace which the very powerful elected Duke of Venice would live, we will see amazing painting and incredibly adorned rooms, we will also be entering the ancient prisons of the city and walking though the bridge of sighs. After lunch we will hop on a boat which will bring us to the Venetians islands were we will see how the famous glass of glass of Murano is made. We will head back for dinner and pack for our new destination tomorrow..Florence!Hotel Belle Epoque
June 26Venice - FlorenceIn the morning we will again hop on the high speed train direction Tuscany. After the beautiful train ride through the Tuscan alps we'll arrive to Florence and start our day with a guided walking tour, visiting the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio and the rest of the piazze and monuments. In the evening we will have time to explore the city a little more on our way to dinner. Ostello Bello Firenze
June 27FlorenceHave breakfast at the hotel and continue our exploration of the capital of the Rinascimento (Renaissance). We will see the Cupola del Brunelleschi, which is still the tallest building of Florence and was designed by Giotto and Brunelleschi. Then head to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe and the world. We will then visit the famous market and have some delicious street food. Finally, we will head to see the copy of the David of Michelangelo, which is situated in front of one of the most beautiful public offices in the world, Palazzo Vecchio, which is actually the city hall of Florence.Ostello Bello Firenze
June 28Florence - MurloWe will say good bye to Florence but not to Tuscany and we will take a private bus through the Tuscan hill we will be heading to the wine and olive oil producing region of Tuscany , we will be heading to a Farm which produces Olive oil and wine. After lunch we will have farm tour and a small cooking class, we will then eat our own home cooked meal. Le Verzure Azienda Biologica
June 29Murlo - Siena - MurloToday we will head to Siena for the day. We will visit the city of the world-famous Palio horse race. For more than 700 years, rival neighborhoods of Siena have been participating in a horse race. We’ll have a short lesson on to explain the Palio and get the unique opportunity to tour the city and witness the preparations of the race. Le Verzure Azienda Biologica
June 30Murlo - RomeThis morning we'll take a bus to Rome. Upon arrival we'll stop off at the hotel,drop off our luggage and be ready to have a walking tour of "Roma la citta Eterna" Rome the eternal city, with its never ending History and monuments. We will see the Coliseum , the Trevi Fountain, the famous steps of Piazza di Spagna, and finish the day off with dinner in a restaurant with a beautiful view of the Eternal City.Ostello Bello Roma Colosseo
July 1RomeWe will wake up early and be out of the hotel by 8:30 to have a full day experience of Rome. We will head to the Vatican Museums one of the biggest museums in the world. We will have a guided tour of the museum and after this experience we will refresh will a delicious Gelato. We will continue exploring the city and head to St Angelos castle, the once fortification of the Pope. We will have some free time to go shopping and head for dinner where we will have of a Rome’s famous pastas! Ostello Bello Roma Colosseo
July 2RomeGet ready for our last day! We'll have a quick discussion about our program and reflect on everything we have seen and learned. We'll start our day by seeing Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Venezia e Vittoriano which are the piazza of the people and the piazza of the once king of Italy, respectively. We'll then head to the Foro Roman which was the ancient center square of Rome and is surrounded by several important ancient government buildings. We will then walk to the Bocca della verit which is a round, mask-like structure. You can put your hand in its mouth and legend has it that if you were to lie while your hand were in its mouth, you would find your fingers chopped off! To finish the day off we will head to the Terme di Caracalla, the ancient thermal baths of Rome. We will then finally sit down have a nice final pizza dinner and gelato before heading back to the hotel.Ostello Bello Roma Colosseo
July 3Rome - USABus transfer to Fiumicino Airport, then say arrivederci to Italy as we board our flight home to the US!Your own bed, eventually!

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Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe. 

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
Ostello Bello Grande

Ostello Bello Grande is just 100 metres away from Milan Central Railway Station. Piazza Duomo and the new trending areas of the city, such as Garibaldi, Isola district, Porta Venezia and NoLo, are within walking distance. The property features both en suite rooms and shared dormitories, all air-conditioned . The bathroom features a hairdryer and toiletries. In addition, the hotel has a common kitchen and a lounge area. Free Wi-Fi keeps guests feeling connected at all times. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender.

Hotel Belle Epoque
Hotel Belle Epoque is located in the heart of Venice set on a central street surrounded by shops and restaurants. It offers clean and comfortable rooms with original 18th-century furnishings, air conditioning, and satellite TV. A panoramic lift reaches the rooms of the Belle Epoque, and each room features a white-marble bathroom and Murano-glass details. Breakfast is a generous buffet, served in the stylish dining hall. WiFi is available throughout the property. Students will be accommodated according to gender. 
Ostello Bello Firenze

Ostello Bello Firenze is in San Lorenzo neighbourhood, in the heart of the Florence. Starting from the hostel you can easily visit the entire city and and all point of interest. This accommodation has air-conditioned private and semi-private rooms, dorms are also available. to accommodate our participants. In addition, the hotel has a beautiful terraces, a shared kitchen and a lounge area. Free Wi-Fi keeps guests feeling connected at all times. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender.

Le Verzure Azienda Biologica

This farm is flanked by olive groves and vineyards, with a wonderful view of Montalcino and the Merse Valley. Located near the Etruscan ruins of Murlo, in the small village of La Befa and surrounded by Mediterranean bush. This farm offers walks in their vineyards, a stop in our small artisanal cellar and the tour of their wine and olive oil production. The farmhouse has two independent apartments furnished in a traditional Tuscan style, as well as the main house, recently renovated paying respect to the original structure, that can accommodate up to nine people. The property also counts with a swimming pool for guests.

Ostello Bello Roma Colosseo

Ostello Bello is located a few steps from the Colosseum and Termini station. Spread over five floors with 152 beds, both with private bathrooms. It includes a bar with an outdoor area, a lounge for relaxing and a fabulous terrace on the top floor where you can enjoy the immensity of the Eternal City. In addition, the hotel has a common kitchen and a lounge area. Free Wi-Fi keeps guests feeling connected at all times. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender.

Group Flight

Type Carrier Name Carrier Code Flight Number Departure Airport & City Departure Date and Time  Arrival Airport & City Arrival Date and Time 
Outbound
United Airlines
UA
19
EWR – Newark International Airport, Newark, United States
June 22, 2023 at 07:20 PM
MXP – Milan Malpensa Airport, Ferno, Italy
June 23, 2023 at 09:10 AM
Inbound
United Airlines
UA
509
FCO – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome, Italy
July 03, 2023 at 12:55 PM
EWR – Newark International Airport, Newark, United States
July 03, 2023 at 04:25 PM

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. 

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
  • Sweater/sweatshirt
  • Underwear
  • Shorts
  • Rain jacket
  • Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
  • Comfortable, everyday pants
  • Durable athletic/walking shoes
  • Sandals (optional)
  • Hat/s

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:

  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Band Aids and Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Medication in properly marked original container

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Sunglasses
  • Swimsuit (for hotel in Tuscany)
  • Journal and pen
  • Book/s
  • Camera
  • Power adapter
  • Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
  • Durable water bottle
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Headlamp
  • Deck of cards or other portable games

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.

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.

Juan Pablo “JP” Rabanales
Juan Pablo “JP” Rabanales
Global Country Operations Manager


Earlham College – B.A. International Studies, Minor in Economics

Born and raised with a big family in Guatemala, JP spent seven years living and studying in the US where he was exposed to highly diverse communities. JP worked as a Wilderness Leader guiding expeditions in the Southwest of the US. After spending two years in New Mexico studying the International Baccalaureate, he moved to Indiana where he spent the next four years at Earlham College. His passion for international affairs brought him to spend a semester in China, and several other Southeast Asian countries. During his time abroad, he spent his summers traveling and backpacking through 15+ different countries, and participating in several service projects. Today JP is based in Costa Rica where he works full time with the Walking Tree team.  Juan Pablo also enjoys hosting friends and travelers coming to visit. He’s always down for an exciting road-trip around the country, or even better, around Latin America. He is a long time art and design enthusiast, and a photography aficionado.

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.

Cristina Reid
Cristina Reid
Program Leader


Syracuse University- B.A. in Art History, Minor in Italian Language and Literature
Born in NYC with a Spanish mother and Scottish father, Cristina was raised on the Jersey Shore. She has been traveling between the US and Europe since early childhood, acquiring both english and Spanish language skills and a passion for travel. After spending her first semester of freshman year at Syracuse University in Florence, she fell in love with art, art history and Italian language. She went on to spend a second semester in Florence furthering her art studies and interning at the world renowned Uffizi Galleries. After graduation, she moved to Spain where she currently lives and teaches English and Art at a bilingual primary school.

Group Roster

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

  • 1 Carter Van Stone
  • 2 Devin Rosser
  • 3 Jack Lesch
  • 4 Jason Cordero
  • 5 Julia Volker
  • 6 Kevin Fenlon
  • 7 Mia Diaz
  • 8 Quinn Gonzalez
  • 9 Sara Diaz
  • 10 Tessa Cope
10 Travelers

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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