Italy Service and Adventure: Cinque Terre, Rome and Sorrento
$3,995 + Airfare
Jul 20 – Aug 1
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Places we visit:||
Cinque Terre, Montalcino, Rome, Vatican City, Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii, Naples, Capri
|Optional group flight there:||
New York (JFK) to Florence
|Optional group flight back:||
Naples to New York (JFK)
Say ciao to the Cinque Terre, where we will complete our service project. Marvel at the picture perfect coast of the Italian Riviera, with it’s five pastel-painted fishing towns nestled into the cliffside. A longstanding relationship between Travel for Teens and the local community of Monterosso allows our participants to work on meaningful service projects every year. We will work at a Capuchin monastery with the monks to help rebuild historic walls, work to restore the hiking trails that have been damaged and closed to the public, and help improve the facilities of some local schools. As if giving back weren’t rewarding enough, you’ll enjoy stunning Mediterranean vistas every day! After our time spent in the Cinque Terre, we’ll stop at a private Tuscan estate for a cooking lesson and winery tour (optional) and head to Rome to uncover what the Eternal City has to offer! We will spend the last few days of this program soaking up the sun in southern Italy’s hottest destination, the Amalfi Coast.
On this program you will:
- Earn 20 hours of community service credit working in the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Spend your mornings working with monks at a Capuchin Monastery or on the trails and your afternoons cooling off in the sea
- Try stand up paddle boarding or sea kayaking
- Enjoy a pizza picnic with fun games on the beach during sunset
- Hike the famous trails of the Cinque Terre, complete with ocean views, pastel colored houses and colorful flowers
- Enjoy a private pesto cooking lesson at a chef’s restaurant in the Cinque Terre
- Receive your community service certificate at a special ceremony held in the Town Hall of Monterosso
- Get that iconic photo with the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
- Spend the day cruising the Amalfi coast on your very own private boat
- Make a wish and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure your future return to Rome!
- Wander the Vatican’s golden halls and stare in awe at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel
- Discover the ancient ruins and marvel at the Colosseum in Rome
- Spend an iconic evening at the Spanish Steps relaxing like a Roman and enjoying gelato
- Visit a private winery and prepare Italian specialities for a fresh homemade meal with a family at their Tuscan estate (optional)
- Eat authentic Italian pizza in Naples – where pizza isn’t just food, it’s an art form!
- Discover the underground history in the subterrain of Naples
- Sunbathe on the famous volcanic black sand beaches of Italy in postcard perfect Positano
- Walk the ancient streets of Pompeii or Herculaneum, buried in ash by a volcanic eruption
- Explore the chic island of Capri for amazing shopping and gorgeous scenery
- Ride a scenic chairlift to the very top of Capri for stunning island views
- Enjoy the sun and gentle breezes of the Mediterranean
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-6: CINQUE TERRE
Welcome to the Cinque Terre, one of Italy’s hidden gems! Often referred to as 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! Here we have established strong relationships with the locals from our annual service projects, and you will be welcomed with opened arms and treated like family during your stay here.
After settling into our home for the week in this dreamy seaside village, we’ll tour the town, admiring its colorful shops and rich, authentic feel. You’ll be amazed at the rush of the waves breaking across the beautiful beaches, and will be hardly prepared for the delicious meals consisting of fresh pasta with pesto (a local specialty) and delicacies from the sea. Despite the beauty and the relative success of this region, the Cinque Terre are also faced with a series of daunting environmental and economic challenges. Generations of hard-working inhabitants have braved the harsh conditions of this rugged landscape, living, as is often said, “with their backs to the sea.”
Interact with the locals and give back to this loving community with our meaningful community service, all while enjoying the breathtaking views of this wonderful region. We will be working directly with the town hall to maximize our efforts where they are needed most. One project includes heading up to the monastery to help rebuild historic walls there and clean up the surrounding area. Be rewarded for your hard work with a homemade spaghetti lunch prepared by the monks made with fresh tomatoes and herbs from their garden! We’ll also go to a local school and work to help improve the facilities. Lastly, we’ll work to beautify and maintain the network of hiking trails that traverse the Cinque Terre National Park. We’ll be working with the office of the National Park of the Cinque Terre, performing safe and supervised work that is nonetheless involved and valuable to the inhabitants of this region as well as the larger global community.
We’ll spend a day trekking along the beautiful trail that connects these five villages, where you’ll experience views and vistas the likes of which you’ve never encountered! Over the course of this day, we’ll get to know the distinct layout and character of each of the towns, sampling local pizza, focaccia, and other amazing treats as we go. End the day with a dip in the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean and relaxing on the beach – a wonderful reward for all of our efforts! We’ll also enjoy a private pesto cooking lesson by long time TFT friend, chef, and owner of our favorite restaurant in Monterosso. Our time here will end with a special ceremony at the Town Hall, where our participants will be honored for everything they have done to better the Cinque Terre. The Mayor himself will present to us our certificates of community service and give many thanks for all of our hard work!
DAY 7: MONTALCINO
After our time in the Cinque Terre we will stop in the town of Montalcino. 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.
DAYS 8-9: ROME > SORRENTO
Home sweet Rome! We’ll arrive in the Eternal City where a long and mighty history awaits us. As the city streets 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 from ancient Rome. At the Colosseum we’ll try to imagine the bloody spectacle of gladiator competition. In the Roman Forum, which once housed the ancient city’s bustling center and main marketplace, we’ll marvel at the well preserved ruins. There’s no better way to complete our journey learning about the Roman Empire than with a view of the city from atop the Palatine Hill- the very place where it all began.
We’ll then fast-forward to the Renaissance, crossing the Tiber to Vatican City and marvel at the massive basilica dedicated to St. Peter. We’ll lose ourselves in the Vatican’s extensive collection of artistic masterpieces from the ancient world to the present day, culminating with a look at Michelangelo’s elaborate ceiling frescos in the Sistine Chapel. We’ll stroll down the Tiber and venture slightly off the beaten path 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 and pizza “al taglio.” We’ll shop on the famous Via del Corso, toss a coin over our shoulders into the Trevi Fountain, and hang out on the Spanish Steps enjoying a classic Roman night of relaxing in the summer air of a beautiful piazza.
DAYS 8-9: SORRENTO and the AMALFI COAST
Next, we’ll escape the big city and head to Sorrento, a dreamy seaside town on the Bay of Naples that will be our home base as we explore this rich region. Enjoy our glamorous accommodation with a rooftop terrace and stunning views of sunny Sorrento.
We’ll wake up in the morning and hop on a private boat to discover the enchanting Amalfi Coast. It’ll be love at first sight with the sun shining above, blue sea below, and unbelievable views in front of us as we sail down the Mediterranean marveling at the pastel-painted towns nestled into the coast. With stops along the way, you’ll have a chance to jump into the crystal clear water and swim among cascading waterfalls and in several secluded bays. When we arrive in Positano, you’ll think you’ve been transported into a postcard as you gaze at the quaint hillside town perched up above. The view from the water is spectacular! Hop off the boat to explore this picturesque coastal gem and wander the narrow streets surrounded by multicolored buildings, blooming flowers, and sweet-smelling lemons. Visit the iconic church of Santa Maria Assunta with its ornate dome covered entirely in tiles. Enjoy the best shopping in the chic stores that line the streets, from handmade shoes and clothes to an abundance of lemon-themed products. Then relax for the afternoon on the famous black sand beach and take it all in.
DAY 11: POMPEII and NAPLES
Visit Pompeii, a thriving ancient Roman port towns that was frozen in time when it was buried under a deep layer of ash and pumice during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Step back in time and you explore this town and learn about the daily life there before the volcanic devastation. Our expert guide will recount the historic tales of these cities that will paint a picture of what life was like in these lavish societies before the volcano erupted!
Then hop on the train for a picturesque ride along the “circumvesuviana” line, a train that goes to Naples following a track around Mt. Vesuvius. What better way to spend your day than in the very place that pizza was invented? Indulge in the best in the world, served steaming hot straight out of a wood-fired oven.
Here in Naples, we will have the choice of following up our tour of Pompeii at the National Archeological Museum, the richest collection of archeological artifacts in Italy, or go back in time and navigate the maze of tunnels under the city that were used as anything from Roman aqueducts to air-raid shelters throughout history. We will also have a chance to hit some of the shops and wander around the fascinating and folkloristic streets of Naples!
DAY 12: CAPRI
Spend your final day just off the coast exploring the exclusive island of Capri. We’ll enjoy a boat tour around the island and even have the opportunity to go inside the mysterious blue grotto. You can go shopping in the ultra-chic boutiques, take a hike around the craggy coast of the island, and enjoy a scenic chairlift ride up to Mt. Solaro, the island’s highest point for breathtaking views and incredible photo opportunities!
DAY 13: GROUP FLIGHT BACK TO THE USA
WHAT KIND OF TEEN TYPICALLY PARTICIPATES IN THIS PROGRAM? WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO JOIN?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
This program is only for students who are currently in 9th through 12th grade and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
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 the Cinque Terre we are in a modern and beautiful hotel in the center of the town Monterosso, just steps from a private beach. In Rome we stay at an elegant hotel near the central Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore, close to the city center and the main train station. In Sorrento, we’ll stay at a gorgeous hotel with a rooftop terrace and stunning views of this dreamy seaside town on the Bay of Naples.
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 program.
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 program 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 LIKE MOST ABOUT THIS PROGRAM?
Students love that they are able to fully immerse themselves in the culture by connecting with Italian locals on a deeper level during their service project. Performing service work along the coast with stunning views doesn’t hurt either!
What is unique about this program?
The Cinque Terre portion of this program is especially unique, as our groups are ingrained fully in the community given TFT’s connections in Monterosso. Our longstanding relationship with the locals here offer a unique introduction to one of Italy’s most charming villages. Students experience what small town Italy is like and are treated like family. In addition, this program provides unique insider access to all of the destinations, from hands-on learning at a pesto cooking class to an exclusive invitation to a Tuscan villa and winery tour and private boat tours down the Amalfi Coast.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, program-related activities and admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, visas and visa application fees, lunches, beverages other than filtered water at meals, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not program related, such as movies, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters, as well as 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 program’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 program starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on programs 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 LEADS THE PROGRAM?
The Trip Director for every program 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 program 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. Programs 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 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?
Group size is important! A smaller group size provides unique opportunities that a large group cannot accommodate. Think of your favorite local restaurant; could it easily accommodate a group of 50 teens? Probably not! Our group sizes average between 14 to 21 students, which means that we are able to comfortably use local transport, enjoy local restaurants, and have a more authentic experience overall! A smaller group size also eliminates the likelihood of cliques, meaning that our groups all tend to bond as a cohesive unit. We guarantee that you’ll have enough people to meet some new best friends, but not so many that you feel like “just a number” or lost in a crowd.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our Europe programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other programs. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program 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 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 specialties 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. We’ll also get a chance to understand the differences in cuisine throughout the three different areas as we enjoy delicacies such as pesto, focaccia, spaghetti all’amatriciana, and seafood made best in their respective home regions. Don’t forget about gelato! After your trip to Italy, no dessert will ever be the same.
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 TO BRING ANYTHING SPECIAL FOR THE COMMUNITY SERVICE PORTION OF THE PROGRAM?
Summer in Italy is known for its sunshine, which makes beach days beautiful, but working a bit more tiring. Please be sure to bring a water bottle and hat for our service days, as well as clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group almost always. Every day 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 program, the group will have some free time to explore some of the safe pedestrian areas of the Cinque Terre, Pisa, Rome, Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii or Herculaneum, Naples, and Capri. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each city.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
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/.
What kind of Visa do you need for this program?
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!