I just returned from a week in Milan. It was my first time in Italy – what a beautiful country! I was there for a conference so I didn’t have time to volunteer, but I always like checking out what programs are available. I found many cultural and language teaching programs, but here are a few unique experiences that caught my eye.

Dolphin Conservation and Sailing in Italy

Overview: During the project, you will be staying on board an historical boat, built in 1930 in Marseilles and designed by Andre Mauric. The entire boat is made from wood: the hull is built from oak, the deck is in teak and below deck is made from both mahogany and oak. Weather permitting you will sail out every weekday and help researchers in studying dolphin behaviour. All participants are given an important role and are required to help in data collection. No previous experience is required. At the beginning of the week volunteers will be trained to undertake specific tasks including dolphin watching, underwater camera monitoring, behavioural data collection and photographic identification. This enchanting and exclusive project is perfect for sailors, dolphin lovers or those looking for a vacation experience that’s out of the ordinary.

Dolphin and Whale Research

Overview: Volunteer at the Cetacean Sanctuary which is a marine protection area stretching between France and Italy. As a volunteer you will help gather vital data and help with preliminary digital photo analyses and acoustic recordings, whilst also learning basic sailing techniques. The research focuses on cetacean species such as; Fin Whales, Sperm Whales, Risso’s Dolphins, Pilot Whales, Striped Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins. You will work side by side with researchers and recieve specific training and lectures. Participants will be assigned different tasks daily such as; sighting, navigation, computer (data entry and hydrophone listening), cooking and boat keeping shifts.

Dig in the Roman City Sanisera, Explore Rome & Pompeii

Overview: This program, which has been scheduled by the Sanisera Field School, is divided in two main parts. In the first part of the course students will gain experience in archaeological fieldwork by excavating in the Ancient Roman city of Sanisera. This site, which is located in the Mediterranean island of Menorca. During the second part students will discover the most significant remains from Ancient Rome through an archaeological tour around Rome, which will be leaded by an expert on Roman art. If you have never excavated as a volunteer in a field school and are interested in excavating in a Roman city as well as visiting the most unique classic archaeological monuments of the Roman Empire, then this course is a good choice. This program accommodates participants with or without previous experience.

I love volunteering with animals, but I have to say the idea of doing a “dig” in an ancient city is super exciting. I hope you check out these programs, and if you have suggestions on other programs in Italy, please post them in the comments section. Ciao!