The name Italy brings up so many different images: art, wine, food, museums in Florence, restaurants in Rome, gondolas in Venice, picture-perfect ancient ruins, fashion runways in Milan, and majestic Mediterranean Islands. While all visitors want a taste of it all, some individuals (like you!) want to do something more meaningful to make an impact on the nation. Volunteering in Italy gives individuals the chance to contribute to the nation’s needs and learn about the culture firsthand from the viewpoint of the locals while enjoying all the magnificence Italy has to offer.
Where to Volunteer Abroad in Italy
Italy is a boot-shaped peninsula in Europe that extends out into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia. Rome, the capital city is the most populous with over two and half million people. The nation’s other most populous cities are Milan, Napoli, Torino, and Palermo. Volunteering in Italy offers these cities and so much more! Here are the best places to volunteer in Italy.
Rome, the Eternal City has always been a religious capital for thousands of years and is still the center point for the world's over one billion Roman Catholics. The city is the perfect place for the faithful volunteers, as it offers plenty of options for projects. A visit to the hundreds of churches within Rome, with the amazing number of holy relics, could be a pilgrimage all on its own.
Venice, the city of canals (with no roads!) is made up of over 100 small islands and will delight you with its beauty. Strolling through the city on a gondola ride will never be as romantic as it is here. You’ll never tire of places to see and things to do while you’re here from marveling at St. Mark’s Basilica to touring Doge’s Palace.
Naples lies in southern Italy on the front calf on the boot. Volunteers who are history lovers will rejoice in this city of relics. Whether you’re ogling at Mount Vesuvius’ grandiosity, visiting the National Archaeological Museum, or touring Naples underground, you’ll feel like you’ve taken a time machine to the ancient past. Don’t forget to take a bite of the signature pastry here, sfogliatella, for a quick snack (or even breakfast if you have a sweet tooth).
How to Volunteer in Italy
Whether you’re a sea or land lover, you’ll easily be able to find volunteer opportunities in Italy that suit your needs and tickles your fancy. From getting your hands dirty to assisting others, you’ll be making a big difference for the locals. Here are popular volunteer projects in Italy.
Marine Conservation. Dive into the sea to help marine researchers record life in the sea, such as dolphins, and evaluate humans’ impacts on these creatures. The research you’ll be doing and that data you’re providing will be invaluable to for helping to protect this fragile ecosystem.
Teach English. With Italian being the main language spoken, Italy looks to native English teachers to supplement children’s language learning. You’ll be opening doors and opportunities for these children by teaching them English. Many of these programs encourage volunteers to lead games and activities, so you’ll be playing hard while working hard!
Archaeology. Why not volunteer in Italy by helping archaeologists excavate tombs to reconstruct the past? If you couldn’t get enough of the song “Pompeii” by Bastille, then you can even unearth relics of Pompeii that tell a story about the Roman civilization long ago!
Costs of Volunteering in Italy
Hold onto your cannolis, you may dreaming of the pasta and wine you’ll stuff yourself with while you’re here, but you’ll also need to keep in mind the costs as well. Italy is a costly European country, so you’ll need to do some preparation ahead of time. Most program fees cover the costs of food and housing. Unfortunately, you’ll likely need to shed more bucks for international airfare. Consider applying for scholarships, and you could also ask for friends and family’s help via FundMyTravel.
Accommodations in Italy
Would you like to immerse yourself with the Italians or live with other international volunteers like yourself? From hostels to homestays to apartments, Italy offers a plethora of choices. Depending on your program, however, you may not even have to worry about making arrangements for accommodation. If you’re interested in staying in an apartment, the rent is more affordable than most places in Europe (around $600 a month for a one-bedroom apartment). However, as a volunteer in Italy, you could live with an Italian host family.
If you volunteer abroad in Italy for less than 90 days, then a passport is the only requirement. If you’re planning on staying longer, then you’ll need to apply for a visa. You can get started looking into the visa requirements via GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory. Program coordinators are also usually happy to assist with your needs and answer questions as well.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
With plenty to offer curious volunteers, you’ll never be bored in Italy. The coastline is perfect for boating activities and snorkeling. Regardless of time of year, volunteers can always fill their free time with language learning.
Depending on if you mind crowds or not, you’ll need to research the times you would like to visit here. Peak tourist season starts in June and lasts until August. Low seasons are a great time of year as a volunteer in Italy for a unique experience.
Volunteering in Italy will overall deliver a balance between meaningful service, relaxing beauty, and historical adventures.