Ranney School Class of 2023 Italy Cultural Journey

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the Ranney School Class of 2023 Italy Cultural Journey!  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 19, 2023
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,490 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $1,009

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
March 11US - ItalyFly from the US to Italy. Airplane
March 12Milan - FlorenceUpon arrival to Milan, we will transfer to Florence and meet our program leaders. We will check into our accommodations then start the adventure with a bang: The Uffizi, one of the world biggest and oldest museums in Italy. We will admire art from Botticelli, Micheangelo, Caravaggio and many more!

We will then have a traditional Florentine dinner with a dessert of ice cream and head to bed early and be ready for an exciting week ahead touring central Italy!
Hotel Alinari
March 13FlorenceWe will have a calm morning with an orientation meeting and time to explore the area near our hotel.

Lunch will be at the central market in Florence, where there will be many different food choices from all around Italy. After lunch, we will have a guided walking tour. Then, we'll visit Piazza Duomo and climb up the tower of Giotto and see Florence from a different perspective! We will then trek up to Piazza Micheangelo and see the sunset from the best place in town!
Hotel Alinari
March 14Florence - SienaWe will start off our day walking around and visiting the rest of the must see places in Florence like Ponte Vecchio, have a walk inside of the duomo and of course have some free time to do some shopping! We will then hop on our bus which will bring us to Siena where we will have a walking tour of the small but once very powerful city. We will then head to our farm stay for a relaxing home cooked dinner.Azienda Agricola Le Vezure
March 15SienaWe will wake up at an organic farm which produces organic olive oil and wine. We will have a walking tour of the farm and the natural surroundings. In the afternoon, we will make our own pizza dough, bake it and eat it! Azienda Agricola Le Vezure
March 16Siena - RomeToday we will take our bus to the eternal city of Rome. We will head straight to the Colosseum and Forum, and have a guided tour of this historic wonder of the world. We will then go up a glass elevator in the Vittoriano, and view the Forum and the Colosseum from one of the most unique positions of Rome! We will then have a Roman pasta dinner and of course a Gelato for dessert. On our way back to the hotel, we will stop by the Trevi fountain and throw our penny into it. Hotel Astoria Garden
March 17RomeToday we will have a day to wonder around Rome and visit its highlights. We will visit pizza Navona, piazza di Spagna and its famous steps. We will admire the beautiful park of villa Borghes. We will enter the Pantheon and see its incredible architechture. We will have some time to go shoping and of course to have some gelato! We will then finish the day off with a wonderful pasta dinner. If we have time we will head to the Vatican and see St Peters light up at night. Hotel Astoria Garden
March 18Rome We will be heading to another country! The Vatican, we will be visiting its museum with its incredibly vast art collection which it accumulated thoughout the centuries. We will of course visit the Sistine Chapel and Saint Pauls Cathedral. We will then have a free afternoon for visiting the remaining attractions and some shopping. Hotel Astoria Garden
March 19Rome - USABus transfer to Fiumicino Airport, then say arrivederci to Italy as we board our flight home to the US!Your own bed!

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. 
Hotel Alinari

Located just across the square from Florence train station, this hotel offers easy access to the airports and other places in Italy. The sights of the historic center, such as the Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Galleries and the Ponte Vecchio, are all easily reached by foot in less than 15 minutes. All the rooms have private bathroom, air-conditioning, colour tv. 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.

Hotel Astoria Garden

This hotel is a 5-minute walk from Rome Termini Station and only 2 metro stops away from both the Coliseum and the Trevi Fountain . It offers air-conditioned rooms with TV and a private bathroom. The private garden is full of exotic plants and palm trees. The restaurant serves a buffet-style breakfast. 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
UA
19
March 11, 2023 at 06:25 PM
March 12, 2023 at 08:10 AM
Inbound
UA
41
March 19, 2023 at 09:55 AM
March 19, 2023 at 02:55 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. 

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.

Gabriel Duncan
Gabriel Duncan
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.

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.

Ceren “Ja-Ren” Hic Toletti
Ceren “Ja-Ren” Hic Toletti
Program Leader


Bogazici University Political Science & International Relations BA
Humboldt University Agricultural Economics M.Sc.

Born in Ankara, Turkey, Ceren lived in 3 different cities before she was even 2. She then landed in Istanbul, where she grew up to love the cosmopolitan city. So when she was 22, she chose to move to Berlin aka “little Istanbul”. Following her curiosity for politics of food and agriculture, she continued her studies, during which she met permaculture. This science of connections, an eco-conscious and multi-layered approach to design continues to inform her thinking and activities to this day. She started gardening in a small city allotment, helped on friends` and family`s gardens and volunteered in permaculture farms in Italy & Turkey. She also worked as a buyer to learn food supply chain & business. She loves to slow travel, where she can observe and savour the culture and live like locals. She has spent a lot of time in Italy, north as well as south, as she is married to an Italian. Today, she is 35, lives and works most of the year in Berlin and is very grateful for her life. She works as a nature-pedagogue, a facilitator for nature connection in online and offline settings, through creating fun & educational contents and holding space for growth for children, youth and adults. She is a dancer, an apprentice voice artist, a video-maker, blog-writer and ideator.

Group Roster

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

  • 1 Leslie Patient
  • 2 Maria Guiliano
  • 3 Michael Guiliano
  • 4 Kiri Patient
  • 5 Richard Nagy
  • 6 YIBO GUO
  • 7 Brandon Stobie
  • 8 Kevin Twomey
  • 9 David Tansey
  • 10 Lawrence Hall
  • 11 Christian Virone
  • 12 Ethan Casciano
  • 13 Brandon Stobie
  • 14 Kirin Patient
  • 15 Leslie Patient
15 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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