Italy Photography: Tuscany and Venice
$3,595 + Airfare
Jul 31 – Aug 9
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
Florence, Lucca, Montalcino*, Siena, Pisa, Venice
|Optional group flight there:||
Newark to Florence
|Optional group flight back:||
Venice to Newark
Italy is every photographer’s dream. With an abundance of photo opportunities around every corner, you can never grow tired of the endless beauty. Grab your camera and set out to capture the rolling hills, brightly colored architecture, spectacular landscapes, picturesque canals, bustling outdoor markets, quaint alleyways, and mouthwatering food. Be ready to create an impressive portfolio of iconic photos, led by our experienced photography guides who teach both technical and conceptual lessons on how to get that perfect shot. With an interactive, fun, and hands on approach to photography, you will come away with beautiful images to document a trip that will stay with you forever! Every day will feature special photo workshops and challenges designed to inspire and push students to take their photography to the next level. Capture the famous terracotta roofs, pastel-painted Ponte Vecchio, and sunset over the city in Florence. Traverse charming villages in Tuscany, for an ideal aesthetic background to work with on your photographic explorations. Discover another perfect scene around every bend of the labyrinthine alleyways in Venice and concentrate on the light and reflections of the Venetian Lagoon. Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn the art of travel photography in some of the most beautiful locations on earth!
Photography Instructional Component:
- Use the most beautiful Italian backdrops in the world to improve your photography skills with the help of our expert instructors (all skill levels welcome)!
- Enjoy hands on instruction and photo critiques from expert photographers
- Improve your expertise in landscape, portrait, journalistic, food and street photography to capture the ambience of these stunning Italian destinations and tell a story
- Participate in fun, daily photo challenges to focus on perfecting different skills each day. These challenges will be incorporated into the cultural activities each day
- Receive daily feedback from your instructor in order to advance your photography and post processing skills with each assignment
- Benefit from the insight of leaders who know the places like a local to coax the most out of the photographic opportunities
- Return home with a personally reviewed portfolio of excellent images
On this trip you will:
- Climb to the top of the Duomo for incredible views of Florence and practice landscape photography
- Marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the David
- Take on TFT’s famous gelato tour- are you up for the challenge?!
- See a side of the real Venice that is hidden from most visitors of the city at the oldest Gondola workshop in Murano where a local family has been making gondolas by hand for generations
- Take a cooking class to learn how to make several Italian classics while doing food photography at the same time*
- Enjoy a private invitation to a famous local leather shop for snacks and an introduction to the Italian leather market
- Wander the tiny streets of Venice and discover the hidden gems of this canal city
- Visit an authentic glassmaking shop on the island of Murano and watch as Venetian glassblowers create their masterpieces
- Explore the classic Tuscan medieval hill town of Siena that has remained almost unchanged with the passing of the centuries
- Stroll across the famous Ponte Vecchio and experience Florence lit up at night
- Hop on a bike tour around the small Tuscan town of Lucca, stopping to capture street scenes along the way
- Marvel at the vividly painted houses of Burano, an island in the lagoon of Venice, and capture the vivid colors reflecting in the canals for the perfect photo opportunity
*This is an optional excursion.
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM NEWARK, NJ
DAYS 2-6: FLORENCE (DAY TRIPS LUCCA, SIENA, PISA, MONTALCINO*)
The home base for the first half of our Italian photo adventure is Florence. The stately, perfectly proportioned architecture of Florence gives us an ideal aesthetic background to work with in our photographic explorations of the city. Here, in the center of the Italian Renaissance, artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as writers like Dante and Machiavelli completed some of their most famous masterpieces. We’ll stand in awe of Michelangelo’s gorgeous David at the Accademia gallery before touring the Uffizi, the world’s best collection of Italian Renaissance art, marveling at paintings by Botticelli, Caravaggio, and others. Surrounded by all the art and culture the city has to offer, you’ll take in the history of the Renaissance as you compose professional quality portraits, street scenes and landscapes.
Art and culture are just the beginning of all that is in store for us in Florence. We will also enjoy an amazing pizza dinner, challenge ourselves to complete a tasty nighttime tour of some of the best handmade gelato places in the city, and spend a night clubbing at one of our favorite dance spots. No trip to Florence would be complete without a visit to the Duomo, the magnificent Gothic style basilica. We’ll climb to the top of the famous terracotta dome for a breathtaking view of the city, where you’ll capture awe-inspiring photos to highlight your impressive portfolio. And don’t forget a sunset stroll over the Ponte Vecchio, Florence’s oldest and most iconic bridge that crosses the Arno River. Before you know it you will truly understand the meaning of “la bella vita!”
During our time in Florence, we’ll take day trips into the rolling Tuscan hills to explore some of the most charming villages and small towns in Italy. First stop is Lucca, to experience the true charm of iconic small town Italy. Get lost wandering the narrow streets and find photographic treasure around every corner. Put the camera down (or don’t!) for a bit to discover this enchanting medieval city by bike. Next we’ll visit Siena, one of Italy’s loveliest cities, and home of the Palio – an annual horse race where riders compete without saddles on an uneven dirt track for a chance to become champions in a suspenseful, nail biter of a spectacle. And last but not least, a photo expedition to Italy would not be complete without capturing that classic shot in Pisa! Get ready to hold, push, kick, and pose with the leaning tower!
We will also offer an optional day trip to an award winning winery in Montalcino where we will walk amongst the vines, swim in the infinity pool overlooking the country side and enjoy a multi-course cooking lesson.
DAYS 7-9: VENICE
Venice is our home for the last three days of the trip. This floating, magical city is like no other in the world. In Venice we will visit the majestic St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, as well as the bustling and ancient fish market in the Rialto neighborhood. Venice is the perfect city to get lost in with a camera in hand, so we will be sure to wander the silent, narrow back streets and passages in this most charming of cities. We’ll concentrate on light and reflections as we explore the Venetian canals and labyrinthine alleyways and explore the islands of Murano and Burano. This enchanting city on the water will capture your heart and lens like no other and it is the perfect setting to finish up the trip of a lifetime with TFT!
DAY 10: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM VENICE BACK TO NEWARK, NJ
PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT LIST
- Digital Camera – either compact or dSLR (digital single lens reflex – the big cameras with interchangeable lenses)
- Compact digital cameras must have manual capability (ability to adjust ISO, exposure, shutter speed, aperture). Please note that we will only be working with digital.
- Charger, extra batteries, and download cable for your camera
- Don’t forget a European converter so you can plug your charger into the European sockets, which are different from the ones in the US. You will also need the cable that came with your camera to download your photos to a portable computer.
- Camera bag for camera, lenses, and accessories
- Choose the most comfortable bag for you, as you will be carrying your camera a lot! Camera backpacks are often more comfortable than shoulder bags.
- At least two memory cards for a total of 32GB of memory space
- Optional: Extra lenses for a dSLR
- It’s fine to bring only one lens. If you do bring several, we suggest you bring a standard zoom lens and a fixed 50mm, 85mm, or 100mm lens (an 85 or 100mm lens is the best for portraiture). Do not bring more than 3 lenses.
- Tripod (compact)
- Portable computer with enough free disk space to download your photos and installed photo editing software such as Lightroom, Aperture, or Photoshop.
- This is the one TFT trip that allows you to bring a portable computer. If you bring a computer, please make sure you have enough disk space, a USB jump drive, or blank DVD’s where you can save backups of your photos as we go. Please note that a computer is NOT necessary – If you don’t have a computer our counselors will gladly download your photos for you and you can look on as we do photo editing demos. Please note that Travel for Teens, LLC does not assume any responsibility for your personal items or equipment in the event of damage or loss. You are responsible for purchasing travel insurance to cover your expensive items such as your camera, lenses, and computer.
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about improving their photographic abilities and portfolios. We have had students who are almost ready to go pro and students who have a strong interested in getting into photography and everywhere inbetween. The type of teens we attract are interested in making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Florence we stay in a beautiful hotel a short distance from the Duomo. In Venice we’ll be at a great hotel located on a beautiful piazza only a short walk from the train station.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a trip.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
Yes, in fact over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on this program?
Our Italy Photo travelers love that they are able to explore the best of Italy, from major cities to small towns, while advancing their photography skills and creating a stellar portfolio. This program allows photography students of all skill levels to receive personalized instruction, gain creative knowledge, and have fun with their cameras!
What is unique about this program?
This trip is unique in that it provides a hands-on learning experience for those interested in improving on their photographic ability in the most beautiful of settings. Our expert instructors have daily, carefully-thought-out photo projects for students to complete that cover a different subject each day. This provides them with well-rounded training and gives them the opportunity to focus on mastering a specific task with an end goal in mind. Because of our diverse instruction, students come away from this trip with an impressive portfolio and a better understanding of both the technical and creative aspects of photography.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included: (not intended to be an exhaustive list) Airfare, rail passes, lunches, visas & visa application fees, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
At Travel for Teens, our trips typically fall into 3 different size categories.
Small: 7-14 students where 14 is the maximum.
Medium: Average is between 14-21 students with 21 as the maximum.
Large: Trips 21-35 students. These are our largest trips.
Typically Italy Photography falls into the small range, but trip sizes differ from year to year.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our Europe programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other trips. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
In a word – Delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Italian food is all about fresh, simple ingredients. We’ll sample the best of the “three Ps”- pizza, pasta, and panini! Indulging in these Italian specialities for the first time is a life changing experience, and we will be there to document every minute of it as you fall in love with the fresh mozzarella, warm Italian bread, mouth watering prosciutto, and homemade pasta. Don’t forget about gelato! After your trip to Italy, no dessert will ever be the same. Watch in amazement as the food not only tastes delicious, but makes for a spectacular subject in your photographic endeavors!
We also love to have picnics al fresco, and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, the group will have some free time to explore some of the safe pedestrian areas of Florence, Lucca, Siena, Pisa, and Venice. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each city. We will have the chance to go clubbing on this trip in Florence, where our counselors will be present at all times.
What kind of Visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Europe is automatically granted a free 90-day tourist visa. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!
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