Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Italy
Italy is a long standing favourite with WWOOFers who enjoy fine wine, food and weather. Come to think of it, anyone that likes those things will like Italy. Why the hell haven’t we gone there yet?
Grassroots Volunteering in Italy
The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:
Speak offers residential language immersion programmes in Italy, bringing together native English speakers (Anglos) from around the world with Italian professionals in a dynamic environment of authentic English conversation. Mother tongue English speakers, of different ages and from all walks of life, are invited to experience Italy and help Italian learners improve their English through talking. Speak also offer a programme for teenagers and paid work for camp leaders.
Where: Lombardy, Lazio, Puglia and Tuscany.
Accommodation & Costs: There’s no cost to participate and Anglos are provided with full board hotel accommodation during the programme dates. Transport from city meeting points in Milan, Turin, Florence or Bari is also laid on.
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Associazione Culturale Learn and Play
ACLP have two programmes to volunteer in Italy during the summer. Either teach Italian children and teens for one to two weeks at a day camp while staying with an Italian host family, or there’s a one week hotel based full immersion programme spent talking all day with the young Italian participants in a very laid back and playful environment.
Counsellors should be English native speakers with an American, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, South African or European passport, aged 20 to 35 years old, with a degree or at least university students. Alternatively, a TEFL certificate or previous camp experience are accepted. There is also a Kids & Teens Village Residential Programme..
Where: Typical Italian towns.
Accommodation & Costs: Full board and accommodation is provided with a local host family, or in a hotel – depending on the programme.
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The Associazione Culturale Linguistica Educational is a non profit organisation endorsed by the Italian Ministry of Education. Each summer the association trains and places English tutors in camps to teach English through games, sports, drama and songs to Italian children and teenagers. All applicants attend a one week intensive training course and, on completion, attend a minimum of three weeks of camp. Afterwards there’s the option of participating over the summer season at some of the 250 camps ACLE run throughout Italy. Applicants must be native (or near native) English speakers with a passion for teaching. There is also a mini programme option.
Where: Across Italy.
Accommodation & Costs: Accommodation, food and transport during and between camps is provided and trainee tutors also receive a study grant, starting at over €500 for your first three weeks in camp. Rates up to €270 are paid for each additional week at camp. Applications must pay an orientation fee of €200 on arrival in Italy to cover hotel accommodation and meals for the first six nights.
Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Italy
Peta, an Australian who lives with her family in a small medieval town in central Italy, sent an ad to the Jobs Abroad Bulletin looking for Native English Speakers to chat with local Italians. At the time she had hosted a small number of travellers over the past 12 months and loved the diversity and interest it created in their home and small town. It appears she has prospered and expanded into new centres. More information can be found at English in Italia. Sicily’s Altra Lingua may also have the occasional volunteer teaching vacancy. When they have been in touch with us in the past to put the word out, they said they offered accommodation in a room in an apartment in town – food included – with the possibility to learn Italian. After one month of volunteering four to five hours a day there will be a chance to be employed as an English teacher. Another organisation similar to ACLE (see listing above) using the performing arts to teach English to children all around Italy is Educo.
The work of building and developing an ecological and sustainable way of life at Torri Superiore wouldn’t be possible without the help of volunteers. They offer two options. The first is working half a day and staying as a paying guest for the other half, for €15 a day. The full work exchange option is available in the summer months only, involves sleeping in tents and helping mainly with cooking and cleaning.
Google couldn’t translate their pages, and our Italian certainly isn’t up to it, but we recognise the word volontariato so we know LIPU, the Italian League for Bird Protection, are doing something of interest to readers of this site. More clues for non Italian speakers on their anti poaching activities can perhaps be found via their UK supporters.
Torre Argentina‘s 150 cats still shelter amongst the oldest temples in Rome. Previously we had written “Seven days a week volunteers, feed, clean and look after them. The sanctuary exists mainly because of the generous support of volunteers, with a small core of permanent volunteers, assisted periodically by others living in the city. There no longer seems to be a demand for English speakers to work as guides showng around tourists but there are still plenty of cleaning and food distribution duties to fulfil. The sanctuary looks for people who are outgoing self starters ready to roll up their sleeves and able to commit for at least three months for two/three hours at least twice a week. There are no costs for getting involved but Torre Argentina does not provide accommodation and does not reimburse expenses.” However, when we last at looked at their domain for sale website it stated there weren’t any openings available for short term volunteers.
Help Exchange Networks in Italy
Italian speakers can also use BarattoBB to stay in a B&B in exchange for a few hours of work.
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Italy
Stay for free in return for caring for local residents’ homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). Italy usually has house sits available but, if not, you can get a free Airbnb credit from us here. If you travel with your art, let Rome’s The Yellow know and they’ll trade you a bed, a pillow and a meal.
A Week-In-The-Life of Tony: WWOOFing on A Tuscan Farm – Tony’s decision to quit his job in finance and travel the world with his wife, Meg, led them to a Tuscan Farm.
WWOOFing in Italy – Working on an organic vineyard in Tuscany.
Portraits of WWOOFers in Tuscany, Italy – The first in a three part series of photographs of WWOOF volunteers.
Working at a Hostel in Venice, Italy – Working in a hostel for board and drinks provided the author with free board, food, drinks and daily friends, all in a 400 year old palace on the Grand Canal.
Dive Into The Blue World Of Whales And Dolphins. Volunteer In Ischia – Since 2009 Angie Raab has been a regular crew member on the Jean Gab, a 1930s cutter navigating the Italian Island of Ischia.
Sustainable Farm Living – Planting and harvesting vegetables, feeding the animals, constructing a cob wall (made of mud and straw), making homemade tagliatelle, building a bonfire, and making tomato preserves are all skills that Fiona learned while working on a sustainable farm in Italy.
Volunteering in Italy: Washing up and Witch Burning – Cat Rainsford volunteers in a restaurant in the Italian lakes, in a village with a permanent population of two.
My Unconventional WWOOF Italy Experience: Drinking and Feasting in Tuscany – The grapes aren’t full of wrath for Lucy Cheseldine.
Volunteering In Italy (Abruzzo) And Learning Raw Earth Construction – Davide and Otilia volunteer on a construction project, working with natural materials collected in the surrounding area.
* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations
Image courtesy Speak