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Five ways to spend your gap year exploring Italy

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Five ways to spend your gap year exploring Italy
Take in some art history in Florence. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
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: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

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 (€173) education fee helps pay for Italian lessons and field trips. You must also become a member of the Spannocchia foundation, which costs $30 (€26), as well as join WWOOF Italia, part of a global movement linking volunteers with organic farmers, for $40 (€35). 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$270 (€233), not including flights

Become an expert in Italian cuisine


Learn how to make pizza, the authentic Italian way. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Get trained in authentic pizza-making at Mamì Camilla's Kitchen in the beautiful Campania town of Sorrento. Daily cooking classes will introduce you 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? Up to four weeks, with option of internship to follow
How much? Four-week courses start from €1,100, not including flights or accommodation

Become a WWOOF-er


Opportunities include working on an olive farm. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

WWOOF-ing 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: long- or short-term stays are possible depending on destination
How much? €35 to join WWOOF Italia, plus travel

READ ALSO: Why toiling in Tuscany could be one of your most relaxing holidays yet

Study art history 


The course is sure to include a visit to Michelangelo's David statue in Florence. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP 

Art History Abroad involves several weeks travelling through Italy studying art history. Designed for 18 to 22-year-olds, the course is taught by specialist tutors in groups of no more than nine. Departing from the UK, you'll cover some of Italy's most famous cities, staying several nights in each and 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? Up to 12 weeks 
How much? Not cheap. A six-week course starts at £9,950 (€11,338), including flights, accommodation, breakfast, travel in Italy, museum entrance fees, drawing tuition and basic Italian language lessons

Work in a ski resort


There are various jobs in Italy's ski resorts. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP 

Esprit Holidays is always looking for reps, nannies, chefs, front-of-house staff and ski instructors. In addition to your wages, they'll pay for accommodation and board, insurance and travel to and from the UK. You'll get a cheap lift pass for the whole season, plus a good rate on the hire of skis, a snowboard and boots – plus a 10 percent discount for your friends and family. Staff get one day off per week and the season lasts from November to April, though different opportunities are available in the summer months.

Where? Various locations in Italy
How long? Six months
How much? Staff are paid variable wages, plus benefits including flights, board and lodging

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

By Ellie Bennett

Have you taken a gap year in Italy? Would you like to tell us about your experiences? Get in touch with us by emailFacebook or Twitter.

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