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 pastel-painted villages of the Cinque Terre and the sunset over the Renaissance city of 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.
This program is designed for any teen who has an interest in photography, whether they have been learning for years or this is a brand-new hobby. 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
- 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.
During this program, you will…
- Hike along the idyllic Italian coast while marveling at the pastel-painted fishing towns nestled along the cliffs in the Cinque Terre
- Climb to the top of the Duomo for incredible views of Florence and practice landscape photography
- Marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the David
- 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 Montalcino that has remained almost unchanged with the passing of the centuries
- Stroll across the famous Ponte Vecchio and experience Florence lit up at night
- 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
Looking to practice your new skills in another destination? Most travelers choose to begin their journey in Paris on the extended version of this program, Ultimate Travel Photography Workshop: Italy & France.
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-4: CINQUE TERRE
Why not start off your Italian photography journey in one of Italy’s hidden gems, the Cinque Terre! After landing in Florence, we’ll head out to the Italian Riviera. This region is home to five idyllic fishing villages with pastel colored houses perched on dramatic cliffs that plunge into the crystal-blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. We stay right in the center of one of the villages (Monterosso) just steps from the beach! In Monterosso we have established strong relationships with the locals from some of the service projects we have done there in the past, and you will see you are treated like family during your stay here!
The Cinque Terre is known for its spectacular hiking trails that connect the towns and we will have the opportunity to hike them for ourselves! On the hike we will enjoy spectacular views of the sea and the vineyards that line the cliffs and be inspired by the natural beauty in this region. During our time here we will also sample local specialties like pesto and focaccia. Discover this beautiful region with photography lessons every morning, so that you can truly capture the trip of a lifetime!
DAYS 5-7: PISA > FLORENCE > MONTALCINO
Our next stop is the Renaissance capital of the world, Florence! Along the way, we will stop in Pisa to get that iconic shot of the Leaning Tower! Then it’s time to discover the quaint city of Firenze, where 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, and challenge ourselves to complete a tasty nighttime tour of some of the best handmade gelato places in the city. 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 a day trip into the rolling Tuscan hills to explore some of the most charming villages and small towns in Italy. We’ll visit Montalcino, a classic Tuscan town, where you’ll have the chance to meet a local family and take a cooking class at their winery.
DAYS 8-9: VENICE
This magical floating city is like no other in the world. In Venice, visit the majestic St. Mark’s Square and Basilica and explore 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 Travel For Teens!
DAY 10: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Who can go on this program? What kind of teen typically goes on this program?
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 grades 9th through 12th and approximately 14 to 18 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 the Cinque Terre we will be staying in a lovely family-run hotel located only steps from the best beach in town. 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 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 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?
Between our photo lessons tailored specifically to each individual student, the chance to improve your photography skills in one of the world’s most beautiful cities with our expert staff, and TFT’s years of experience bringing students to Italy, this program provides unique insider access at every point of the program.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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!
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!
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
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 photographic equipment will I need for this program?
A more detailed list will be sent upon registration, but for the TFT photography program, expect to need a digital camera (compact or dSLR) with manual capability (ability to adjust ISO, exposure, shutter speed, aperture) in addition to camera accessories such as memory cards, a camera bag, etc.
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.
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.
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!