Twenty University Students Receive Travel Grant to Italy Through a NIAF Program


Contact: Elissa Ruffino, 202-939-3106,

Follow students virtually starting June 9 at                          

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 23, 2015)  Twenty college students from across the nation will participate in the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery Program, an all-expenses-paid educational and cultural initiative that sends Italian American students to Italy.  Sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), the tour will visit Italy’s Lombardia region, NIAF’s 2015 Region of Honor, from June 9 to June 23, 2015.


For the third consecutive year, participants are giving back to the Italian community with a service project in Cascina Rossigo at the Fondazione Genitori per l’Autismo ONLUS, a residential farming community for autistic adults. Last year, the students worked with women and children in difficult situations, was coordinated through the HandsOn Network, a Point of Light Enterprise.

“This signature program at the National Italian American Foundation gives these fortunate Italian American students an incredible opportunity to discover and immerse themselves in the land and beautiful culture of their ancestors,” said NIAF Director of Programs Gabriella Mileti.  “For the future of our Italian American community, it is necessary for young Italian Americans to understand the value of heritage, tradition and roots, and this program emphasizes exactly that.”

Now in its 16th year, the 14-day NIAF program will include tours of historic sites throughout the city of Pavia with a visit to the Certosa, and a walking tour of the city of Monza and Villa Reale.  While in Milan, students will attend a lecture at the Politecnico University, tour the university’s design studios, and visit the renowned Italian tailor store Brioni.  A day at Expo Milan 2015 to explore the pavilions is part of the itinerary. Students will also view the restored masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci and tour La Scala Theatre and Sant’ Ambrogio Church in Milan.

The schedule includes: a tour of the Auricchio Cheese factory and the Stradivari Museum in Cremona; visits to Lake Como and Lake Garda with walking tours of Sirmione and the Roman ruins (Grotte di Catullo). The students will participate in an excursion by ferry on Lake Maggiore to Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre. The trip will conclude with a farewell dinner in Milan with the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

The package includes round-trip airfare between the United States and Italy, accommodations, meals, guided tours and transfers, all financed by NIAF.  For more information, visit

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit