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Having an experience with students from different countries and of a different mindset, led by experienced architects, can give a wider and clearer idea of what architecture can be.”   -Nazareno, Rome, Italy


For the first week, while learning all about Rome and its architecture, we also focus on letting the students experience a new culture, try new foods, and make new friends.

Saturday, July 6th

The students start their first day with a little shopping at the famous Campo dei Fiori, then enjoy a picnic lunch near the Palazzo FarneseNext, the students receive a lesson in perspective at the Palazzo Spada and a lesson in proportion at the incredible Pantheon. Finally, all their first-day efforts are rewarded with some gelato at the world renowned Giolitti’s.

Sunday, July 7th

On our second day, we visit Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, the Capitoline Museums, the world-famous Colosseum, and then sketch Michelangelo’s Moses in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli.

Monday, July 8th

On day three, our tour of ancient Rome continues with the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla, the Bocca della Verita, the Temple of Portunus, and the Theater of Marcellus. Then on to later epochs experiencing the Garden of the Oranges, the Aventine Keyhole at the palazzo for the Knights of Malta, and finally a personal favorite of ours: the Fontana delle Tartarughe.

Tuesday, July 9th

Day four is truly an intersection of art, architecture and landscape. We start atthe Galleria Borghese to learn about the integration of art with architecture as well as a study in Interior Architecture. This is followed by a walk through the Borghese Gardens (Rome’s Central Park) to learn Landscape Architecture.
A lesson on designing in section is held at the Spanish Steps and a lesson on city services, such as water, is held at the Trevi Fountain

Wednesday, July 10th

The fifth day is a day of big-ticket items. Beginning with the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, we then continue on to the Castel St. Angelo and the Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi, which includes the viewing of some paintings by Caravaggio, and rounding out at the Piazza Navona. During this tour through the heart of Rome, we take the opportunity to teach the students some lessons on recycling – both in terms of literal recycling as is ubiquitous in Italy, but also in terms of how the Romans have historically always recycled what they had at hand to build new things. Case in point: Before it was a public square, the Piazza Navona was a circus (like Maximus) used for chariot racing and sporting events. You can still see that in its long, oval shape.

Thursday, July 11th

For our sixth day in Rome, we delve deeper into understanding the planning of the ancient city and its transition to its current-day version. We kick things off at Villa Giulia, one of the many papal casinos, before moving on to the Piazza del Popolo. There we examine the urban planning of Pope Sixtus V and finish up with a touch of Rome’s offering of modern architecture in form of the MAXXI modern art museum by famed architect Zaha Hadid.

Friday, July 12th

To round out our first week in the program, we pay a visit to the American Academy in Rome, the Piazza Garibaldi, and enjoy an overlook of Rome. Then we stop by the famous Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, the Tempietto at San Pietro in Montorio, and the gorgeous Bohemian neighborhood Trastevere. We finish our day with a private tour of the Palazzo Altemps and enjoy another side of the Piazza Navona by night.

Saturday, July 13th

Departing Rome, students are given lessons on landscape architecture and water engineering
At Tivoli, we get a chance to admire some of the greatest examples of both ever created. We start with Villa Adriana (also known as Hadrian’s Villa), which was the summer palace of Emperor Hadrian. Then we stroll through the one-of-a-kind Villa d’Este, which features some of the most amazing waterworks employing only gravity that have ever been built. After that, we set course for our studio in Sant’Angelo in Pontano. To get there, we travel through the picturesque region of Abruzzo.


For the second and third weeks, we work with the students to take everything we’ve learned in week 1 and put it into practice. Outside of that, we also encourage everyone to learn to both work together and play together as well as connecting with the locals in town.

Sunday, July  14th 

For our first full day in Sant’Angelo in Pontano we take the students on a tour of the town, stopping for a site visit that includes some sketching and photo documenting as well as an analysis of the site.

Monday, July 15th

This is the day we truly begin the process of taking all the concepts we’ve gone over in our study tours of Rome and implementing them into practice. Each day will include a studio session. This one focuses on getting the students started with initial design concept and concept diagrams along with an introduction to our main design software, Google SketchUp. Most days, this one included, will include what are known as “desk critiques”, where we sit one-on-one with each student to answer questions and offer tips and advice.

Tuesday, July 16th

On this day, our studio session focuses on design concept development and continuing to learn Google SketchUp. The desk critiques give individualized attention at each student’s level as they progress.

Wednesday, July  17th

This day’s studio session continues development of SketchUp skills and introduces the students to our model workshop and we work with them on making a working model for their design, which they will build in the coming days. Afterwards, we take the students to the local lake Lago di Fiastra for a picnic and a swim in the gorgeous fresh waters.

Thursday, July 18th

In this studio session, we further our design development in Google SketchUp and in rough model form, letting the foundation of the physical model start to take shape.

Friday, July 19th

Once again our studio session focuses on design development and progress on building our models. We also work on introducing the sustainability aspects we have studied and formed into the design concept.

Saturday, July 20th

This is a big day for the students: they do in-house presentations of all the projects to their peers and the faculty. Once all projects have been presented and critiqued by the staff, the students return to the studio for another session to work on all the feedback they received on their projects.

Sunday, July 21st

One of everyone’s favorite days on this adventure is the day we take the students to the Adriatic Sea for the day. We also give the students an opportunity to taste the local olive oil at an Agriturismo and learn about its production.

Monday, July 22nd

To kick off our final week, we begin with a studio session and desk critiques followed by more time in the model shop where students begin their final model.

Tuesday, July 23rd

Continuing onward on our approach to the completion of the students’ projects, the studio session now hones in on finalizing the design development and furthering the students’ SketchUp skills. In our penultimate studio session, the students finalize their designs in SketchUp, examining their projects by means of top-down plans, cross-sections, elevations, and perspectives, while also assessing the sustainability aspects of their projects.

Wednesday, July 24th

Our last studio session is where the students put the finishing touches on their drawings on paper and in SketchUp and then head back to the model shop to finalize their models.

Thursday, July 25th

This is the final day of the program and the culmination of everything the students have learned and worked toward. They put the final finishing touches on their projects and the spend some time packing, resting, and enjoying time with their peers. At the end of the day, they all present their completed projects to the local mayor, City Council, and some interested community citizens.

Friday, July 26th

We return towards Rome, overnighting near the Fiumicino airport and enjoying the afternoon bathing in the Mediterranean Sea, restoring energy levels and taking in one last sunset in Italy in preparation for departure the following morning.

What makes ciao! special

From ancient architecture to modern urban design, bustling cityscapes to rustic Italian countryside, after completing the ciao! program, all of our students will have been exposed to an entirely new world of sights, sounds, and culture!