2023 Smoky Hill Italy Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2023 Smoky Hill 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: October 13, 2023 - October 20, 2023
Dates are tentative until flights are secured
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,290 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Estimated Airfare: $1,000

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. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
1USA - RomeToday the group will travel from the USA to Rome, Italy, arriving the following day.Airplane
2Rome We arrive in the Eternal City by noon. After dropping our bags and grabbing a bite, we head off to explore with a guided the Colosseum, the massive stone amphitheater and an iconic symbol of the Roman Empire! Next, we'll head to the Roman Forum and the other Imperial Fora before grabbing some much needed gelato, the first scoop of many. On our way to dinner we’ll walk by the Trevi Fountain and then, finally, return to the hotel for some restRome Hotel
3Rome - Vatian CityThis morning we will visit another country! We will spend our morning marveling at the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Square, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Vatican Museums. We’ll break for lunch and then head over to the Spanish steps and continue into the Villa Borghese park to get a view from Rome from the terraces that overlook the city. Rome Hotel
4RomeToday we’ll explore Rome’s Jewish Ghetto stopping by the Campo de’ Fiori, translated literally from Italian the “Field of Flowers Square”, which used to a flower market but is now a food market, where we will have lunch. We will visit the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, crowned by the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, as well as an Egyptian obelisk and more. In the afternoon we’ll go underground into the Catacombs of Priscilla. Rome Hotel
5Rome - PompeiiToday we escape the big city and head to Pompeii. The group will tour the archeological site with a local guide and have some free time to explore the area by ourselves. After a full day of exploring we will get to dinner and have the world famous original napolitan pizza. After this meal, no other pizza will ever taste the same! Albergo Del Centro Storico
6PompeiiWe will visit the natural park of Vesuvius, the main symbol of this area: it is one of the most explored volcanoes in the world, visible from most of the Neapolitan cities, and infamous for the creation of Pompeii. We will have a guided tour of the crater, a once in a life time experience, from the top you can enjoy a view that will leave you breathless! We will also visit the museum of the volcano which joins natrral sciences, archeology and geology all in one place. In the afternoon we will visit the city of Salerno with its world famous duomo and castles. Albergo Del Centro Storico
7Pompeii - RomeWe will drive the Amalfi coast and see its breathtaking views on route to Rome. We can also stop and visit the Unesco heritage site, the Royal palace of Caserta, which was the largest royal recidence of the world! Will head back to Rome in time for dinner and have a night time stroll though the city and buy our last souvenirs and hopefully see St Peter lite up at night!Rome Hotel
8Rome - USAToday we will head to the airport to catch our flight home. 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. 
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.

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 04:20 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 10:00 AM
Inbound
Lufthansa Airlines
LH
480
MUC – Munich International Airport, Munich, Germany
March 20, 2023 at 11:50 AM
DEN – Denver International Airport, Denver, United States
March 20, 2023 at 03:35 PM

Once your flight has been secured 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, but 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 is unpredictable, especially in a pandemic.  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.

Michael Manchester
Michael Manchester
Italy Country Director


Lewis and Clark College – B.A. in Communications

Born in Denver, Colorado Mike earned a B.A. in Communications from Lewis and Clark College. After college Mike moved to Siena, Italy where he had studied abroad. In 2004 he co-founded the study abroad program Siena Italian Studies where he is a program coordinator and Service-Learning coordinator. He also founded an English language program for the Siena public elementary schools and kindergartens and is on the board of directors for the city’s “Le Mura” organization that protects, maintains, and promotes Siena’s medieval walls. He is an experienced translator having worked with the AC Siena professional soccer team and a local culinary school. Mike has traveled extensively throughout Italy and Europe. He is fluent in Italian and can converse in Spanish and French. When not working with students you can probably find Mike in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes or somewhere outside enjoying fresh air.

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. 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. Failure to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
  3. Possessing weapons.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  5. Getting a piercing or tattoo.
  6. Being out 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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