2023 Mullen Italian Renaissance Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2023 Mullen Italian Renaissance 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: March 11, 2023 - March 20, 2023
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,690 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $1,394

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. 

DayLocationDescriptionAccommodation
March 11USA -Florence, ItalyToday the group will take their overnight flight to Florence.Airplane
March 12FlorenceWe arrive in Florence today and meet our program leaders at the airport. After checking into our accommodations, we will have lunch at the Market of Florence and then head to the heart of the city where we will see some of the most iconic sites Italy has to offer, including the Piazza Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. We will also visit Orsanmichele, where we'll marvel at Donatello's works, amongst many others. This evening we will attend mass at the Florence Baptistery. Ostello Bello Florence
March 13FlorenceAfter breakfast we will head to Basilica Santa Maria Novella where we will get a chance to appreciate the frescos that decorate the inside of this remarkable church. Then it's off to the Museo Nazionale del Bargello for sculptural masterpieces of the Early Renaissance. After lunch, we visit the Florence Cathedral and the Florence Baptistry, both famous for their world-class architectural design. Ostello Bello Florence
March 14FlorenceThis morning we'll wander the halls of the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important museums in Italy. Masterpieces from Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci adorn the walls to create one of the most memorable moments of the trip. There will be lunch, and a little time to rest, as well as some time for souvenir shopping! This afternoon, we will visit Palazzo Medici Riccardi. We finish the day with a visit to Piazelle Michelangelo to get a view of the city from above.Ostello Bello Florence
March 15Florence - RomeAfter breakfast we catch a train to Rome, the country's capital. Upon arrival we settle into our hotel, after which we can check out Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. Then, our first dinner in Rome!Ostello Bello Rome
March 16RomeMaybe you didn't expect to visit another country today, but Vatican City is just that! We cross the border into the smallest country on earth and begin our visit by checking out the museums and their incredibly vast art collection accumulated throughout the centuries. We will also stop by the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter's Cathedral. The afternoon has some free time for some shopping.Ostello Bello Rome
March 17RomeToday we pause our exploration of Rome in order to participate in a service project with a local Lasallian school. Details of the work will be shared once finalized.Ostello Bello Rome
March 18Rome - PompeiiToday we escape the big city and head to Pompeii. The group will tour the archeological site with a local guide. Tonight we have Napoletan pizza to look forward to, the only real pizza if you ask our Country Director Devin. After dinner we will head back to Rome on the ultra fast train in time for bed.Ostello Bello Rome
March 19RomeHeading back in time, we will go  straight to the Colosseum and Forum, and have a guided tour of this historic wonder of the world. Then we ascend by glass elevator in the Vittoriano, to take in the view of the Forum and the Colosseum from an amazingly unique vantage point! There will be some free time for those final Rome souvenirs. This evening we'll attend mass at Il Gesu along with a celebratory dinner to toast everything we've seen and done! After, we  head back to the hotel, stopping by the Trevi fountain to toss a coin and make a wish.Ostello Bello Rome
March 20Rome - USASay arrivederci to Italy as we board our flight home to the US!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. 
Ostello Bello Firenze

Ostello Bello Firenze is ideally located in San Lorenzo neighborhood, in the heart of the Florence. From the hotel, you can easily access the entire city and enjoy the local area. This accommodation has air-conditioned standard rooms and private, in-suite dorms. In addition, the hotel has a beautiful terraces, a shared kitchen and a lounge area. A beautiful Italian breakfast is served to fuel a wonderful day of exploration.

Ostello Bello Roma Colosseo

Located in traditional building above cobble stone streets and near the Colosseum and Termini station, Ostello Bello Roma is a great place for travelers to rest after packed day of exploring Rome. Spread over five floors with a variety of rooms types and communal areas, the hotel includes a beautiful patio, terrace and quiet corners to support guest. The breakfast is top notch and the friendly staff are always available to support travelers.   

Group Flight

Type Carrier Name Carrier Code Flight Number Departure Airport & City Departure Date and Time  Arrival Airport & City Arrival Date and Time 
Outbound
Lufthansa Airlines
LH
481
DEN – Denver International Airport, Denver, United States
March 11, 2023 at 04:25 PM
MUC – Munich International Airport, Munich, Germany
March 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM
Outbound
Air Dolomiti
EN
8194
MUC – Munich International Airport, Munich, Germany
March 12, 2023 at 11:10 AM
FLR – Peretola Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola, Florence, Italy
March 12, 2023 at 12:25 PM
Inbound
Lufthansa Airlines
LH
1873
FCO – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome, Italy
March 20, 2023 at 08:25 AM
MUC – Munich International Airport, Munich, Germany
March 20, 2023 at 09:55 AM
Inbound
Lufthansa Airlines
LH
480
MUC – Munich International Airport, Munich, Germany
March 20, 2023 at 11:55 AM
DEN – Denver International Airport, Denver, United States
March 20, 2023 at 03:40 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
  • Sweaters or sweatshirts
  • Underwear
  • Shorts
  • Rain jacket
  • Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
  • Comfortable, everyday pants
  • Durable athletic/walking shoes
  • Sandals (optional)
  • Hat/s

TOILETRIES

  • Basic, everyday toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Band Aids and Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Medication in properly marked original container

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Sunglasses
  • Journal and pen
  • Book
  • Camera
  • Power adapter/converter
  • Spending money for snacks and souvenirs
  • Durable water bottle
  • Quick-dry towel
  • 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.

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.

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.

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 Vincent Castellano
  • 2 Liam Cook
  • 3 Logan Knobloch
  • 4 Monica Young
  • 5 Lorena Diaz
  • 6 Madeline T Penning
  • 7 Elizabeth Castellano
  • 8 Lindsay Hooper
  • 9 John Rodriguez
  • 10 Mary Hoeft
  • 11 Alexa Hannegan
  • 12 Levi Wooldridge
  • 13 Kyle Sears
  • 14 Abigail Cetaruk
  • 15 Elena Morgan
  • 16 Denton Bench
  • 17 Grace Jackson
  • 18 Caley Kessman
  • 19 Maximilian Obrecht
  • 20 Samuel Ficsor
  • 21 Kaurys Bermudez
  • 22 Maluhia Weasler
  • 23 Ellie Rodriguez
  • 24 Nicole Kent
  • 25 Sahara Zurita
  • 26 Ella Dammen
  • 27 Ivy Bieker
  • 28 Isabel Medina
  • 29 Sophie Azzolina
  • 30 Thanh-Tam Nguyen
  • 31 Grace Cann
  • 32 Allison Schwertner
  • 33 Grayson Carrington
  • 34 Jacob Nearing
  • 35 Keira Schwarz
  • 36 Dominic Moser
  • 37 Brady Gemperline
  • 38 Alexia Yost
  • 39 Nicholas Sauro
  • 40 Kennedy Reister
  • 41 Riona McGuire
  • 42 Mary McMorrow
  • 43 Timothy DeNezza
  • 44 Tim Denezza
  • 45 Ellie Rodriguez
45 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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