Green Travel: A Unique Tour of Italy Focused on Sustainability

Happy Earth Day! Looking for a unique way to see Italy and explore the issues of green tourism, organic food, sustainability, environmental justice and social justice? Then this ecotourism-focused trip I just heard about might be for you…

The organization Global Exchange and Green Festival founder Kevn Danaher are offering what they call a “Reality Tour” of Italy from May 27 to June 9, 2009. The trip centers around Florence’s landmark Terra Futura Festival, a three-day extravaganza which draws 100,000 people to enjoy live music, film, debates and abundant organic food and drink all in the name of environmentalism.

Highlights of this green “Reality Tour” include:

  • Through the lens of social and economic justice, move beyond the traditional sites of Florence and discover often-overlooked aspects of this historic city.
  • Accommodation in Florence at the Ospitale della Rifiorenze (the Hostel of Reflowerings), a non-profit project which shelters the homeless during the cold winter months and operates as a hostel for socially responsible tourism from April to October.
  • A visit to Banca Etica (the Ethical Bank), which integrates social and environmental concerns with the normal functioning of a bank, investing client’s funds in social justice and environmental restoration initiatives.
  • Spend three days in the beautiful Chianti region, staying with Ecorotondo cooperative, a small family-run guesthouse.
  • Spend five days exploring green and sustainable projects in Rome. Visits will include city markets converted from old military barracks, an important social mediation initiative in the multi-cultural Esquiline neighborhood, fair trade and organic businesses, a bicycle activist cooperative, and multiple examples of urban building projects featuring renewable energy and green building technology.
  • A meeting with Libera, a network of 1,200 organizations fighting organized crime (La Mafia) through education and social enterprise, often using land and resources seized from criminal networks.
  • A day spent in the beautiful town of San Casciano, and a visit to La Ginestra (pictured above), a unique cooperative farm that works to preserve and renew the traditions of the Tuscan countryside. Covering more than 300 acres, the organic farm includes verdant forests, olive groves and some of the freshest cuisine in all of Tuscany.

The cost of the trip is $2,000 per person and more information can be found here.