Five ways to spend your gap year exploring Italy

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Take in some art history in Florence. Photo: Kari
08:59 CEST+02:00
Looking for somewhere to spend your gap year? The Local explores the wealth of experiences Italy has to offer.

Italy is an incredibly popular place to spend a gap year, and it's not hard to see why.

The country is beautiful, there are plenty of work options available, and then there's all that amazing food as well. Add in the chance to learn a beautiful language, and Italy really is one of the best places to spend a year abroad.

Read on to find out how you could be spending some of the best 12 months of your life.

Work at an organic farm in Tuscany

Work on an organic farm amid the rolling hills of Tuscany. Photo: Antonio Cinotti

Tenuta di Spannocchia is a working organic farm 20km outside of Siena on a nature preserve. You can spend three months learning about organic farming, while enjoying delicious communal meals made from the olive oil, meat and vegetables grown there and served with Spannocchia’s own wine.

To help run the farm, Spannocchia accepts interns for a period of three months in the spring, summer and autumn. A US$200 (€175) education fee helps pay for Italian lessons and field trips. You must also become a member of the Spannocchia foundation, which costs US$30 (€26), as well as join WWOOF Italia, part of a global movement linking volunteers with organic farmers, for $25 (€21). All food and accommodation are included but Interns must pay for their own travel to Italy. They are met upon arrival in Siena and taken to the farm.

Where? Siena

How long? Three months

How much? US$255 (€224) not including flights

Become an expert in Italian cuisine

Learn how to make pizza, the authentic Italian way. Photo: Matt Harris

Get trained in authentic pizza-making at Mamì Camilla’s Kitchen in the beautiful Campania town of Sorrento. You will be introduced to the secrets of simple Italian cuisine, including fresh pasta, traditional pizza-making, sauces, ice-cream and pastries. For students wishing to take the next step there is an option to take on an internship in one of two local restaurants after successful completion of the cookery course. 

Where? Sorrento, Campania

How long? Four weeks with option of internship to follow

How much? Four week courses starting from €1,100, not including flights or accommodation

Become a Wwoofer

Opportunities include working on an olive farm. Photo: Stew Dean

Wwoofing is where you volunteer on an ecological project or farm in return for bed and board, with the opportunity to see some beautiful countryside. Opportunities can involve looking after animals, harvesting olives, building walls, collecting firewood, making jams and planting vegetables to name a few. Applicants can expect a very rustic lifestyle, making for a truly authentic Italian experience.

Where? Various locations

How long? Variable

How much? Minimum of €25 to join Wwoof Italia, with travel to Italy paid for by applicants

Study art history 

The course is sure to include a visit to Michelangelo's David statue in Florence. Photo: Nathan Rupert 

Art History Abroad involves one week's preparation in London and five weeks travelling through Italy learning about art history. The course is limited to 24 students with groups of eight per tutor, which means a personal teaching experience. Starting off with nine nights in Venice, you'll cover some of Italy's most famous cities, staying several nights in each, learning about art history whilst seeing some of the country’s most famous heritage.

Where? A number of locations in Italy, including Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples 

How long? Six weeks 

How much? This one does't come cheap, with the cost starting at £4,700 (€6,345), but this includes flights, accommodation, travel in Italy, museum entrance fees, drawing tuition and basic Italian language lessons 

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Work in a ski resort

There are various jobs in Italy's ski resorts. Photo: Trysil 

Esprit Holidays is always looking for chefs, reps, nannies and ski instructors. They provide £50 (€67) and pay for accommodation and food, as well as cover travel expenses to and from the UK. A full season lift pass, ski and boot hire are also included. Staff get one day off per week. The season lasts from December to April, and you must be at least 18, although some jobs require a higher age and experience.

Where? Various locations in Italy

How long? Five months

How much? Esprit pays you £50 (€67) a week and supplies flights, board and lodging

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about being an au pair in Italy

By Ellie Bennett

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