Explore all of the beauty and culture that both Greece and Italy have to offer on this Mediterranean program! From postcard-perfect beaches to lively piazzas and mouthwatering meals, you’ll experience the best that both countries have to offer.
Greece, the cradle of western civilization, is home to thousands of islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas where ancient ruins, charming coastal towns and centuries of rich history come to life. During this program we will get to experience Grecian culture—a vibrant, social way of life full of passionate people and rich cuisine. Dive into layers of world heritage in Athens, home of the Acropolis and the Parthenon before setting sail to explore the pebbly beaches of the world-renowned Greek Islands.
Then it’s time to discover the beauty of Italy. Step back in time to Ancient Rome and marvel at the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Discover the idyllic Tuscan countryside as you craft your own Italian feast at a private Tuscan estate. Experience the Renaissance in Florence and delight in the cobblestone streets and the city’s laidback charm.
It’s hard to visit Greece and Italy and not fall in love with its people, culture, and cuisine!
During this program, you will…
- Climb the Acropolis for a close-up look at the Parthenon, one of the most spectacular ancient ruins in the world
- Learn how to cook authentic Greek cuisine in a private cooking class
- Scuba dive* or swim at some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe
- Visit the mystical, mysterious Delphi, home to the Oracle that initiated the story of Oedipus
- Wander the golden halls of the Vatican and gaze in awe at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling
- Make a wish and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure your future return to Rome!
- Stroll across the famous Ponte Vecchio, gelato in hand, and experience Florence lit up at night
*This is an optional excursion
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-4: ATHENS > HYDRA
Athens is the epicenter of history where landmarks and architecture date back centuries and the beloved humanities were born. We start our travels with a picnic lunch in the gardens. We’ll enjoy the leisure of a Grecian afternoon, strolling through the squares and cafes, and delighting in Greece’s best hobby: people watching! Our first evening concludes with an incredible Greek feast in the heart of historical Athens. The next few days are an adventure of culinary delight and historical discovery. Start with the Acropolis, the heart of Athens, and the center of Greek heritage. Attend the lively markets full of handmade goods and fresh foods where you can sample crumbling feta, fresh baked olive bread or honeyed cheese. Learn to cook Grecian specialities in a private cooking class so you can return home and impress your friends with a cultured feast. From there, head to the oldest section in Athena, the Plaka district, where the roads are closed to automobiles to make room for charming shops and cafes. Visit Pnyx, the birthplace of democracy, where Athenians gathered to host their assemblies in 507 BC.
Only a short ferry ride from Athens is Hydra, one of the most beautiful islands in all of Greece. Hydra is a pedestrian only island that has not allowed new development, only the restoration of its charming architecture. For that reason, the island is quaint and a perfect way to experience a quieter side of Grecian life and culture among its cobblestone streets and picturesque beaches.
DAYS 5-7: DELPHI > LEFKADA
En-route to our next Greek island destination, we’ll stop to ask the infamous Oracle of Delphi for our fortune. As the home to the Oracle that initiated the story of Oedipus, this mysterious and spiritual place will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits.
Then it’s time to discover Lefkada, one of Greece’s hidden treasures. As the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, we’ll be surprised if you don’t fall in love with the country of Greece after your time on the island. We’ll spend our days getting into the Greek summer rhythm of life, where we’ll wander through charming towns, learn how to windsurf and snorkel in the electric blue water, cruise on the Ionian sea to hidden islands, get our first taste of Greek cuisine (feta, anyone?), and discover that Greece really is the perfect summer destination!
DAYS 8-10: ROME > VATICAN CITY
After a quick flight across the Ionian Sea, we start our adventure in Italy in one of the most beloved cities in the world. The streets of the Eternal City buzz with antiquity around every corner. You’ll be in awe as we transport ourselves thousands of years back in time while exploring the most important monuments and structures. Rome never ceases to amaze with its talent for fusing ancient buildings and streets into an incredibly modern and pulsing city. From the Colosseum, where we’ll envision the bloody spectacle of gladiator competition, to the Roman Forum, which once housed the ancient city’s bustling center and main marketplace, our expert guides will bring Rome’s history to life.
We’ll then fast-forward to the Renaissance, crossing the Tiber to Vatican City and marveling at the massive basilica dedicated to St. Peter. This is the largest church building in the world, and definitely the most impressive. St. Peter himself is entombed beneath its altar, and you can see Michelangelo’s breathtaking “Pietà” before staring up at the famous Sistine Chapel. We’ll stroll down the Tiber and venture slightly off the beaten bath to Trastevere, one of Rome’s hippest neighborhoods, to see the local Romans in action and indulge in some of the best food in the city, including fresh homemade pastas or pizza “al taglio.” Marvel at the Pantheon, shop on the famous Via del Corso, toss a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, and hang out on the Spanish Steps, enjoying a classic Roman night of people-watching in a beautiful piazza.
DAY 11-12: MONTALCINO > FLORENCE
No trip to Italy is complete without visiting the rolling Tuscan hills. On our way to Florence, we will stop in the medieval town of Montalcino, one of Italy’s loveliest cities. We’ll stroll the quaint cobblestoned streets of the hill town of Montalcino. Visit its beautiful medieval church and cathedral and check out the grand fortress before heading to the nearby town of San Quirico d’Orcia for some breathtaking views of this famous region.
For those who choose, there will be an optional excursion to a private vineyard just outside the town of Montalcino to experience the stunning Tuscan countryside in real Italian fashion. This day is a TFT favorite! We have an exclusive invitation to a family’s private Tuscan estate. We will receive a hands-on tasty Italian cooking lesson using freshly harvested vegetables straight from their garden! Enjoy a special tour of the winery where they produce award-winning wine and receive an introduction to this important part of Italian culture.
Then it’s time to discover Firenze, the city most often referred to as an outdoor museum. Every turn in this beautiful city reveals a new statue, fountain or fresco. In the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, we’ll see Michelangelo’s famous “David,” climb to the top of the Duomo, and visit the Uffizi Museum, which houses the best collection of Italian Renaissance art in the world. Art and culture are not all that are in store for us in Florence, however. We’ll shop in the city’s famous markets and go to an exclusive event at one of the best leather shops in the city.
DAY 13: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in 9th or 10th grade and approximately 14 to 16 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are chosen specifically in safe areas and are well suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. 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 Athens we stay at a great hotel only a five minute walk in the center of Athens near Syntagma. Travelers average between 2-4 per room. On the island of Lefkada, we stay in the capital of Vasiliki in a hotel only minutes from the beach. In Rome we stay at an elegant hotel located a short walk from both the Colosseum and the main train station. In Florence we stay in a great 3-star hotel right by the Duomo.
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 the program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
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 form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we 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 friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about this program?
Students love that they are able to explore the hottest destinations in Greece and Italy, while also discovering some lesser known gems. Lefkada tends to be a favorite; everyone loves its laidback island vibe and gorgeous beaches. Teens also love that they are able to discover the culture and history of Greece and Italy while exploring Athens and Rome contrast their experiences in the city with the charm of the smaller towns.
What is unique about this program?
We have strong local connections in Greece and Italy and offer exclusive activities like a Tuscan cooking lesson at a private villa and an island boat tour to the undiscovered islands around the Ionian Sea. Our Greece and Italy program is completely unique from anything you would find anywhere else!
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts and dinners.
Not included in cost (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; lunches; visas and visa application fees; personal and medical expenses; activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary; beverages other than filtered water at meals; participant expenses that are outside of the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels; expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 14 and 21 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
Families who sign up for more than one program will also receive a 15% discount on the lesser-priced program.
What is the food like on this program?
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!
In Greece, we will enjoy class Greek cuisine, including the original Greek salad with mouth-watering tomatoes and locally made feta, famous grilled meats and fresh seafood, and world-renowned baklava. The secret to Greek food is the fresh, simple ingredients, and you’ll begin to understand why this is the secret to one of the best diets in the world: the Mediterranean diet! 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.
In Italy you are in a treat for some world famous Italian food! Mouthwatering pizza and pasta and incredible seafood are all on the menu during our time here. And of course we will enjoy plenty of delicious gelato!
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor.
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.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s 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!
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do.
Eat, stay, and travel like a local. Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we were awarded top youth travel organization in 2017.
"My second consecutive TFT trip was one for the books. Every aspect of it was perfect; from my other travel mates to my counselors. the destinations that we visited were perfect and I couldn’t be thankful enough for the personal touch that every TFT trip has. We did things that you wouldn’t even think of doing on a regular vacation. We experienced Greece and Italy to the fullest extent. My favorite part of the trip was scuba diving in some of the most beautiful water in Greece. I loved the food in Italy and I loved the culture that surrounded both countries. I love and am extremely grateful for TFT and everything that they do to make sure you have the best possible trip."