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Exchange your skills for accommodation
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Hostel Rome, Italy
A treasure trove of cultural riches, Italy is renowned for its picturesque Roman architecture, glittering Renaissance art, heavenly Mediterranean islands, and all the best authentic pasta you could ever eat.
Float along the canals in a Venetian gondola, gaze up at Michelangelo's iconic Sistine Chapel frescoes, or walk through Pompeii in the footsteps of ancient Roman civilizations. There's a dizzying array of cultural goodness to absorb in Italy, but that's what makes it one of the most popular destinations in all of Europe to explore.
Around every corner, you'll notice that art and history have permeated Italian culture effortlessly. The country takes great pride in its roots and believes in taking time to appreciate and indulge in the finer things in life.
No other place in the world is home to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so your itinerary will always be filled with interesting things to do and see. Italy is a culture buff's paradise, so be sure to practice slow travel to fully immerse yourself in its wonders.
Tourists that visit Italy want a taste of everything, but volunteers like you are in search of a more meaningful way to impact the nation rather than simply checking off your bucket list. You'll get the chance to learn about the history and vita all'Italiana (Italian life) from your host and contribute to communities in need, all while receiving free accommodation and meals for your efforts.
There are tons of volunteer opportunities in Italy that suit a wide range of skills. Hostels and guest houses always need help with social media marketing and reception, while self-sustaining farms and eco villages need more hands-on help with gardening and animal care.
Spend your morning waking up cows in Bucine at this NGO, or learn to cook like a true Italian at this bed and breakfast in Asti. You could contribute to permaculture projects as you help build a community that relies on sustainable energy.
Choose any work exchange program in Italy and you're sure to form a close-knit bond with the host and your fellow volunteers during your stay.
The breathtaking landscape of the Italian peninsula is a real masterpiece that is full of natural diversity.
A true land of fire and ice, you'll find perfect skiing conditions in the northern Alps in the wintertime, while in the south the active volcanoes scattered throughout the south bubble with fiery heat. In the summers you can scuba dive into clear turquoise waters to explore underwater caverns on the Amalfi Coast or see the mighty shipwrecks of Sicily.
The seasons in Italy are roughly the same as they are in the United States, so if you want to avoid crowds of tourists, come to Italy during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.
The hustle and bustle of big cities like Florence and Venice that are packed with busy galleries and museums can be downright exhausting. If you're looking for an outdoorsy getaway, you can volunteer in peaceful areas like Tuscany and Palermo to rest and relax.
You can find volunteer opportunities in Italy that will help you connect with nature as you travel. Choose to join an eco program in Magione as you harvest olive oil, and you can even take some with you when you're finished working there! Volunteer at this holistic center in Serravalle Scrivia, a free shelter that gives refuge to single parents and the homeless, as you help organize retreats and practice meditation.
If you are determined to sleep under the stars, there are work exchange experiences in Italy where you can do so. Camp out near the Adriatic Sea in Otranto where you can work for just four hours a day as a gardener and handyman, and the rest of your day can be spent enjoying the beaches nearby. Work in a hostel near the mountains so you can breathe in the fresh mountain air and go on hikes in your free time.
Your hosts will offer different perks in exchange for your work, such as free hiking tours, language lessons, and even discounts at local restaurants. They'll give you tips on what the best local restaurants are and show you awesome hidden gems to experience in the area.
Working on an organic farm is one of the best ways to work directly with Mother Nature as you harvest your own food, maintain vineyards and gardens, and take care of the animals.
This farm in Ali is located in the scenic Sicilian hills overlooking the sea, which is a picture-perfect experience for any nature-lover. If you're an artist with an itch to create, volunteer at this eco farm in Arezzo that lets you plant crops as well as do fun crafts that spruce up the place.
Working on a farm not only teaches new skills to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle, it is a rewarding way to help the community thrive.
Wherever your world travels take you, one thing is universally known:
"The people you meet create the paradise you find." — Robin Esrock
While working in a hostel is one of the easiest ways to meet people from all over the world, teaching English provides a direct line of communication to you and your host family.
Some families who need help will give you free room and board in a private room with three meals a day in exchange for your help. It's the perfect way to get to know an Italian family on a personal level who would be more than happy to help you see their beautiful country through the eyes of a local.
Share your travel experience with your host family and get to know the history of the area you're staying in. Naturally, you'll need to learn some Italian while you're there in order to understand one another.
Most English teaching opportunities in Italy will offer free language lessons to help you speak Italian! You can stay in Milano, Jesi, Genova, or Padova with families who are ready and excited to learn English from you.
Some positions require you to do some light housework or care for children, so be sure your skills are aligned with the position before you start.
When it comes to volunteering in Italy in exchange for free accommodation and meals, the sky's the limit.
Wherever you stay, you're bound to be near life-changing and unforgettable travel experiences that leave you with lasting memories.
You can choose to stay in the big three cultural giants — Rome, Florence, or Venice — where you can find jobs in several different lines of work, such as:
These eclectic cities are perfect for museum-hopping while being surrounded by classical music and contemporary art.
Volunteer in Venice and you'll be enamored by the charming canals and stand in awe of the many ornate churches throughout the area.
See the famous Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa as a volunteer in Rome. This city is jam-packed with stunning architecture that has stood the test of time for almost 3,000 years, so be sure to take it slow!
Volunteer in the down-to-earth city of Tuscany to grab a hot bowl of ribollita soup and watch the sun set. It's full of hilltop towns that have plenty of work exchanges at large villas and guest houses where you can work at reception, do some painting and decorating, or become a kitchen hand. You can't beat working a few hours a day in exchange for a life in the rustic countryside.
If you are considering staying long-term to volunteer around the country, US citizens can enter Italy without a visa and stay for up to 90 days.
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