2024 Williamson Italy Cultural Journey
|Travel Dates:||March 30, 2024 - April 7, 2024|
Airfare not included in program tuition
Review all materials
What to Expect
Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.
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.
|1||USA - Rome||Fly from USA to Rome, Italy.||Airplane|
|2||Rome||We’ll arrive in the Eternal City by late morning. After dropping our bags, we will head to the Colosseum after lunch, the massive stone amphitheater and an iconic symbol of the Roman Empire! On our way to dinner, we’ll walk by the Trevi Fountain and then, finally, return to the hotel for some well-deserved rest, maybe stopping to have our first Gelato!||Casa Valdese|
|3||Rome||This 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 of Rome from the terraces that overlook the city. Then, dinner!||Casa Valdese|
|4||pompeii||Today we escape the big city and head to Pompeii. The group will tour the archeological site with a local guide and then dine on world-famous Napoletan pizza for lunch. After a full day of exploring, we head back to Rome on the ultra-fast train in time for dinner and rest||Casa Valdese|
|5||rome||On our last day in Rome we'll visit the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, crowned by the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, as well as an Egyptian obelisk and other must see places of Rome. Then, we’ll go underground into the Catacombs of Priscilla. We will also have some free time to go shopping||Casa Valdese|
|6||Florence||We will take the fast train to Florence.We will drop off our bags at the hotel and have a street food lunch at the Central Food market of Firenze. Then we will have a guided walking tour of Florence with all its Higlights. We will head to dinner, have a night time Gelato and have an early night||Plus Hostel|
|7||florence||Today we head to the Uffizi, one of the world biggest museums and oldest museums in Italy. We will admire art from Botticelli, Micheangelo, Caravaggio and many more! We will visit Piazza Duomo and then climb up the tower of giotto and see Florence from a different prospective! We will then trek up to Piazza Micheangelo and see the sunset from the best place in town!||Plus Hostel|
|8||Milan||We will take an early train to Milan and be there by late morning. In the afternoon, our expert program leaders will lead a guided tour of Milan's Cathedral (Duomo), where we'll climb to the top and enjoy a spectacular view of the Alps. We will then visit the fashion district and have some amazing street food. We will then fit into the day a visit to the world famous Last Supper! Last but not least we will say good bye to Italy with a private pasta making class!||Palazzo Delle Stelline|
|9||Milan - USA||Say arrivederci to Italy as we board our flight home to the US!||Home!|
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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.
Hotel Palazzo Delle Stelline Milan
Hotel Palazzo Delle Stelline is set in a former convent in the historic center of one of the best neighborhoods of Milan, next to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie where the famous Leonardo da Vinci fresco, The Last Supper, resides. The rooms offer modern amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and overlook the quiet courtyard. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
Hotel Urbani Turin
A clean, modern accommodation with one of the friendliest staffs around combine to make this an ideal stay for our students. It’s central location also contributes to make this our preferred lodging in Turin. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
Il Frutto Permesso Bibiana
This renovated farm house is equipped with animals, orchards, and lush gardens. Il Frutto Permesso provides a hands-on experience where students will participate in and learn about the cultivation of the area. Students will be grouped in double, triple, or quadruple rooms according to gender and availability.
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
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) :
- Socks (a mixture of good active socks and casual socks)
- T-shirts (some quick dry)
- Long sleeve shirts
- Sweaters or sweatshirts
- 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)
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
- Journal and pen
- 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
- Deck of cards or other portable games
- STUDENT ID
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.
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.
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO
Colby College – B.A. International Relations and Government
While at Colby, Gabriel spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca studying contemporary Spanish politics and Spanish language. He also lettered for four-years on Colby’s lacrosse team and earned All-American honors. After graduating, Gabriel hit the road. He fished commercially in Alaska, taught in Chile and China, led programs for students in Spain and Costa Rica, and traveled to over 50 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Regardless of where Gabriel is located, he is constantly haunted by his naive faith and unconditional love for Denver sports teams.
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.
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.
To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.
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.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- 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
- Failure to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
- Possessing weapons.
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
- Getting a piercing or tattoo.
- Being out after curfew.
- 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.
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.