by Jennifer McLain
Marist Italy Staff Member
One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we hear from Marist students in Florence, Italy is how ideal the location is for traveling in and outside the country. Inexpensive flights are abundant and relatively easy, and best of all, Italy is a part of La Settimana del Baratto initiative, now in its fifth year. The word “baratto” simply means barter, and is definitely one you should add to your Italian vocabulary. What I am trying to say is that you can actually BARTER for your accommodation.
To give you a general idea of how it works, here is a brief overview, courtesy of the program’s official website: http://en.settimanadelbaratto.it/
“From November 18 – 24, 2013, in thousands of Italian B&Bs, you can barter goods and services for your stay. Such items as homemade marmalade or a DVD collection can be suitable examples of barterable goods. Alternatively, the provision of gardening or plumbing services, or even of music lessons, can be just as much welcomed by a B&B owner.
Options and possibilities are indeed infinite. All one has to do is to confidently make his or her own bartering offer while making sure that this is serious, respectful and original. The Barter Week does indeed promise to be a unique event. It will contribute to creating a big network of brand new relationships and friendships while giving every traveller the opportunity to experience and enjoy Italy and its people.”
Many of the participating B&Bs accept photography lessons, website/social media assistance, English language lessons, or a variety of local products outlined on their “wish list” – all things that students traveling on a budget can easily offer. The possibilities to really get to know less-traveled parts of Italy, to build friendships, and to enhance your foreign language skills are limitless. For those interested in environmental and economic issues, bartering is a great way to utilize shared resources.
Even if you are unable to venture out during the November 18-24, La Settimana del Baratto, the good deals don’t stop there – at least 800 of the participating B&B’s are open to bartering ALL YEAR LONG: http://www.barattobb.it/.