At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 5 meaningful project options
- Projects based in Rome, the capital city of Italy and home to the Colosseum
- Accommodation in a B&B-style volunteer apartment
- Between 5 and 10 volunteers start in Rome each month
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from US$955 (approximately CA$1290) for 2 weeks
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Italy to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Italy will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Italy with your new-found friends.
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 9 to 11 hour flight from most major airports in Canada.
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.
NGOs in Rome face financial constraints and struggle to develop capacity, enhance their advocacy role, and improve the provision of much-needed services. As a result, many NGOs rely heavily on local and international volunteer support to run their various initiatives.
As a volunteer on the NGO Support project in Rome, you will have the opportunity to assist a local NGO in the fields of either community development, child and youth welfare, immigration and migrant support or human rights. Volunteers are able to provide valuable support to these NGOs, primarily in organizing and running community workshops and outreach efforts, networking, providing English language support, as well as supporting organizational development, marketing and research activities.
This project is well suited to volunteers who are highly motivated and self-driven, able to take initiative and offer ideas to support the long-term development goals of the NGO. Your tasks will vary from day to day as required by the NGO and their current initiatives. Volunteers who have relevant experience may also have the opportunity to become involved in counseling and providing legal support to migrants seeking humanitarian asylum.
If you wish to join the NGO Support project, you must be 18 years or older and have relevant experience in the field of community development, child and youth welfare, immigration and migrant support or human rights. This can either be university studies or relevant working experience and you will need to outline your experience in your application when you apply. Keep in mind that you will still be assigned to the NGO that has the most need for assistance at the time of your program.
This project has a minimum duration requirement of 4 weeks and you will need to bring your own laptop to support your volunteer work.
The Animal Care project in Rome offers the opportunity to volunteer abroad with cats and support the welfare and protection of cats at a rescue shelter in Rome. The cat shelter is home to hundreds of felines and volunteer work is focused on assisting in the protection of these at-risk animals, many of whom have been abandoned. Volunteer work involves providing the cats with companionship, medical treatment, and opportunities for play.
As a volunteer on this project, you will be working alongside local volunteers to support with the day-to-day operations of the cat shelter. Volunteer tasks can include 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.
Special Needs Support
Volunteers on the Special Needs Support project work alongside individuals with a variety of special needs in a specialized center. The center provides education and care to individuals who have a range of disabilities, from mild physical and mental disorders to severely limiting conditions.
You will work closely alongside the center staff to promote better health and wellbeing outcomes while engaging in a cross-cultural learning exchange with the people you are working with. Volunteer work can include, but is not limited to, providing care, physical therapy, education, vocational skills development, recreation and stimulation, or supporting with cleaning and maintaining the facilities. You may provide one-to-one classroom assistance, help in preparing creative activities and festivities, provide support with meal times or during physiotherapy routines. You will also help with supervising, assisting with excursions, general care and cleaning/chores as required.
To participate in this project, you must volunteer for a minimum duration of 3 weeks and if you would like to volunteer in the specialized centre you must have previous experience working with individuals with Special Needs. Please outline your relevant experience in your application when you apply.
Volunteers on the Sports project in Rome have the unique opportunity to teach sports to migrants (asylum seekers and refugees) or individuals who have special needs. This project is well suited to volunteers who are passionate about sports education and have enthusiasm for working with individuals coming from challenging backgrounds.
When volunteering on the Sports project, you can expect to be working with either migrant groups or individuals with special needs as a coaching assistant during their daily training. Work will focus on teaching skills for popular sports such as football (soccer), basketball and rugby.
We recommend letting us know if you have any preferences regarding the sports you would like to teach and any existing experience you have relevant to this project. This will help our local team to find the most suitable placement for you, however, please keep in mind that flexibility and willingness to participate in a range of sports is necessary.
To participate in this project, you must volunteer for a minimum duration of 4 weeks and have previous sporting experience. Please outline your relevant experience in your application when you apply.
Feeding the Homeless
Like many major cities, homelessness in Rome is an unfortunate occurrence that affects far too many people. The Feeding the Homeless project aims to support people who find themselves without permanent homes, many of whom are migrants. While the issues leading to homelessness are complex and varied, those who are affected by it can all benefit from better access to regular meals and support.
Volunteers assist other members of the community to serve and monitor food provisions at one of the main shelters in central Rome, supporting around 500 homeless people. You can expect to assist with everyday tasks in the homeless shelter, with a focus on helping at meal times.
Tasks include helping to prepare and serve meals, and cleaning up once meal times have finished. Volunteers will mostly be helping to provide lunch at the shelter. You can also help to support the shelter with general duties such as checking the eligibility requirements for those seeking assistance.
This is a rewarding project that provides valuable support to vulnerable people who rely on others for basic daily requirements. It’s well suited to compassionate and caring volunteers who want to make a difference to the lives of others.
This project requires volunteers to be at least 18 years-old and has a minimum duration requirement of 2 weeks.
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. Canadian travelers 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 traveling 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 socializing.
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 for lunch or in some cases eat a packed lunch at your placement.
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.
7.00 PM Dinner at the volunteer apartment. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.
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 center. 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 CA$27) per week for this.
Volunteers are provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday, and breakfast only on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch and dinner will be the responsibility of the volunteers on weekends.
Breakfast is self-serve at the volunteer accommodation and includes fruit, bread, jam, cereal, milk, tea and coffee. Lunch and dinner are provided in the accommodation on weekdays. Lunch is the largest meal of the day with dinner being a lighter option. Meals will include pasta, rice, meat, seafood, vegetable and salad dishes.
There are shops just a few minutes walking distance from the accommodation and volunteers are able to purchase very affordable food if they wish to. If your volunteer placement requires you to be away from the accommodation during lunch, a packed lunch can be provided upon request. 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 CA$14) per week for this.
Italy - Rome
|Length of Program||Program Fee $USD|
- 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
- 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.
- Spending money - Volunteers in Rome generally find US$100 to be sufficient for weekly expenses. You will also need to budget an extra US$20 per week for City Tax, paid directly to the accommodation.
What it covers
- Most affordable program fees
- Expert support from a program specialist
- Full MyIVHQ account access
- Online volunteer training
- Comprehensive preparation tools
- Deals on flights and travel insurance
- $50 credit from IVHQ Flights
- IVHQ alumni rewards
What it covers
- 24/7 in-country support
- Airport pick-up
- Program orientation
- Volunteer placement
Volunteers have the weekends free to explore and Italy is universally recognized 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!
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 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.