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Animal Care Volunteer Program in Rome - Italy

Cat shelters in Rome can often be home to hundreds of felines, making a tough ask for the few people who work there to care for them properly. As a volunteer, you’ll help with all aspects of running the shelter, providing much-needed support and providing a better environment for the cats.

Animal Care volunteer in Rome, Italy with IVHQ

The shelter you’ll volunteer in rescues many abandoned cats around the city, and you’ll help with day-to-day operations to provide companionship, activity and occasional medical treatment.

You’ll work alongside local volunteers to help with cleaning the facility, administering medicines to cats who are ill, feeding, playing with and cuddling the cats, as well as helping the shelter with promoting adoptions. If you have skills in social media and fundraising, you can also provide assistance in these areas.

This is a project for those who want to volunteer with cats, or animal lovers in general.

Apply now
Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $875 for 2 weeks
  • Volunteer in a local shelter for abandoned and mistreated cats

  • Help with playing, feeding, medical treatment and general duties around the shelter

  • Suited to animal-loving volunteers

  • Volunteering for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Italy at a glance
  • Based in the iconic Italian capital, Rome

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a local B&B

  • Between 5 and 10 volunteers start in Rome each month

The volunteer program is located in Rome, the capital city of Italy in the central portion of the Italian Peninsula. Volunteer placements are located throughout the wider city of Rome and the program begins on the second and fourth Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks.

Volunteers are required to fly into Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) or Ciampino–G. B. Pastine International Airport (CIA), which is a 17 to 19 hour flight from most major airports in Australia.

IVHQ also offers a separate volunteer program based in Naples, Southern Italy. In Naples, you can join 4 different volunteer projects, including Teaching, NGO Support, After School Care and Environmental. You can learn more about the Naples volunteer program here.

The program orientation in Rome begins on the second and fourth Monday of each month and lasts for a full day. Volunteers need to arrive in Rome on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) or Ciampino–G.B. Pastine International Airport (CIA). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. Australian travellers do not require a visa to enter Italy for a duration of 90 days.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by the local team’s driver and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Rome, where you will be met by a member of the local team. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Italy prior to your volunteer program and arriving overland, we can arrange for you to be picked up at 2pm from a central railway station in Rome. If you are scheduled to arrive overland after 2pm on Sunday, you will need to arrange your own accommodation for this night, and transportation to the local team’s office in time for orientation on Monday.

Orientation is hosted by our Italy team in Rome. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Rome – Introduction to Italy, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Your specific placement orientation will be held the following day and you will be shown how to travel to and from your placement, receive an introduction to your placement, and then complete a few hours of volunteering.

Weekdays: After your program orientation, you will have a morning, afternoon or evening volunteer shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. A typical morning schedule is as follows:

7.30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer apartment.

8.30 AM Travel to volunteer placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project. Please note that start times and daily workload depend on the project that you are participating on.

1.30 PM Work at the placement usually ends. You will travel back to the volunteer apartment.

2.30 PM You are free to plan for the following day’s activities or use your free time as you wish. This could include sightseeing, shopping or taking Italian language lessons.

Please note that this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.

Volunteers are accommodated in a B&B-style volunteer apartment in Rome, about 30 minutes from the city centre. The B&B has 3 rooms and can accommodate up to 8 volunteers at one time. You should expect to share a bedroom and bathroom with 2 to 3 volunteers of the same gender. Bathrooms are equipped with toilets and showers. Bedding is provided, however, volunteers will need to bring their own towels. As the accommodation is a shared living space, all volunteers are expected to help keep their personal living space tidy. There are also staff who clean the accommodation weekly.

The B&B has free WiFi which volunteers are able to use. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone to keep connected.

In Rome, you are required to pay a City Tax directly to the accommodation and the amount will vary depending on how long you stay. We recommend you budget US$20 (approximately AU$29) per week for this.

Volunteers are provided with a basic continental breakfast each morning and will need to arrange their own lunch and dinner. Breakfast is self-serve and includes fruit, bread, jam, cereal, milk, tea and coffee.

If you have any special dietary requirements for breakfast, please contact your Program Manager when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you. While we do our best to accommodate volunteer dietary requirements, breakfast is basic and you may wish to supplement the options with your own food and snacks which can be purchased from convenience stores which are just a few minutes walking distance from the accommodation. Tap water is fine to drink in Italy, however, bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget approximately US$10 (approximately AU$15) per week for this.

Italy - Rome

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
2 weeks $875
3 weeks $1,160
4 weeks $1,445
5 weeks $1,730
6 weeks $2,015
8 weeks $2,585
10 weeks $3,155
12 weeks $3,725
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance, vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at the conclusion of the program.
  • Lunch and dinner each day - budget about US$10 per meal for this.
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Rome generally find US$200 to be sufficient for weekly expenses including meals. You will also need to budget an extra US$20 per week for City Tax, paid directly to the accommodation.
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals

Volunteers have the weekends free to explore and Italy is universally recognised for its history, art, culture, cuisine and natural beauty - there is absolutely no shortage of things to see and do while in Italy!

Rome has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites and you can spend your free-time visiting the historical centers and attractions, tasting the world-renowned cuisine, sipping espresso in the many café bars, or simply wandering around and discovering how truly beautiful Rome is. Must-dos on your list should include standing in awe of the Colosseum, visiting the Vatican City, seeing Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, exploring the Pantheon and throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain.

Or take a quick train trip over a weekend to see the ancient ruins of Pompeii, or Naples - the home of pizza. Nature lovers should also factor in a visit to the beautiful Amalfi Coast to complete the “Walk of the Gods”.

Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Italy, including Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence, Milan, Pisa and so much more! You can make travel arrangements once you arrive in Rome with the advice and guidance of our expert local team.

See our Italy Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Italy!

Capital Rome
Population 61.7 Million
Languages Italian
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC+01:00

Weather and climate: Italy’s climate is quite diverse due to the great longitudinal extension of the peninsula and its mountainous terrain. The coastal areas of Liguria, Tuscany and most of the South are predominantly Mediterranean with dry summers and moderately wet winters. In the northern parts of Italy and areas of higher altitudes, the climate is cooler and the winter months can be cold, wet, and often snowy. Weather in Rome, where the IVHQ volunteer program is based, is pleasant throughout the year. Winter temperatures in Rome (December to February) vary from 4°C/39°F to 14°C/57°F while spring (March to May) is slightly warmer at around 15°C/59°F. Summer (June to September) in Rome can become very hot and humid with average temperatures ranging between 18°C/64°F and 31°C/89°F. Rainfall is heaviest in November and driest in July.

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Italy. Additional requirements apply for NGO Support volunteers as outlined in the project description.

Fluency in Italian is not a prerequisite for the volunteer program in Rome. However, we recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our local team in Italy. Volunteers find that taking these lessons helps immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Italian language lessons can arrange these directly with the local team once in Italy.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!