Work and Travel in Italy
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN ITALY FOR TRAVELLERS
People think of Italy as one of the most desirable vacation destinations in the world. Whether for food tourism, heritage tours, or beach-hopping, working and travelling in this culturally rich European country is a great starting point for a backpacker trying to make the transition from sightseer to a full-time employee.
We’re going to give you some tips and tricks about working and travelling in Italy that you won’t find in any other guide. Get ready to say “ciao” to your next big adventure.
1. Wine Tourism on an Italian Vineyard
If you have an interest in wine, there’s no better place to build your skills than on a classic Italian vineyard.
From picking grapes during harvest time to leading wine tours for English-speaking visitors, you can learn about the whole complete process involved in running a successful wine-producing vineyard.
2. Refugee/Migrant support in southern Italy
Italy is currently hosting 175,000 refugees, with many more arriving every day. Different organisations have sprung up to offer accommodation, food and clothing services to ensure that people’s most basic needs are fulfilled. They also provide legal assistance, physical and mental healthcare.
You can utilise your skills in public health or social services to assist with the overburdened support system.
3. Live with and look after an Italian family
The family unit is perhaps the most important value for the Italian people. Therefore, there are usually plenty of opportunities available to move in with a family, play with the children and help around the house a bit. Often these are non-paying but the work is simple and a great way to improve your Italian.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR ITALY
EU, UK, Australian, North American, and most South American citizens do not need a visa to stay for up to 90 out of every 180 days in a Schengen-area country like Italy. To stay longer or to work and travel you will need to meet the Italian government’s entry requirements. Check which type of visa and/or work permit you may need with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before booking an appointment through the Italian consulates.
Chinese, South African and Russian citizens will need to apply for a visa to enter the country for any length of time. These visas are relatively simple to complete with the right documentation, however. Just make sure you don’t overstay your visa to prevent getting yourself banned from entering the EU in the future.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN ITALY
Most Italian locals aren't fluent in English, and therefore it's unlikely you'll secure work without mastering the language. On the other hand, your English speaking ability will be highly valued, particularly in tourism and teaching. Because of this, jobs teaching English as a foreign language are readily available.
Recruitment for teachers typically begins in early spring for positions available in September/October.
The weather in Italy is generally already warm in springtime, so farms and trekking tourism sites will already be operating and recruiting workers.
Summer tourism is big business in Italy, so there are plenty of seasonal jobs on offer including bar, hotel and restaurant work. You could find employment in summer camps or holiday resorts, much of it in exchange for free accommodation.
Backpackers just looking to gain some entry-level experience will find plenty of volunteer opportunities in summer, especially in either the agricultural sector or hostels.
Italy is known for its ancient villas and historic structures, much of which was spared destruction during WWII, but could now use some facelifts. If you have handyperson or construction skills, there are a multitude of opportunities for you to work and travel. Felling trees, carpentry, brickwork - this is all consistently in demand, especially in the autumn before vacation residences close up for the winter.
The southern Italian islands such as Sicily have a mild climate, so backpackers can find citrus harvest work in February for picking lemons and oranges.
Ski resorts in the Italian alps also need lots of help, but apply early since these positions are lucrative and the less-skilled jobs fill up quickly.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN ITALY
Italians consider family extremely important and value a healthy live-work balance, so if you can get past initially hesitancy and establish yourself with the natives you can look forward to a thoroughly enjoyable work and travel experience.
Italians expect to be respected and are usually prideful of their particular regions, so when in a place, do not praise too other places of Italy too much and don't compare the place where you are with other ones. Generally, Italy is a very safe country for visitors and solo travellers as long as you keep your wits about you.
- Edited on Jun 4 2021 by Lily