Texas Tech Landscape Architecture Program will conduct studio during the Fall 2014 academic semester in Italy. The study abroad program will study and live at the Santa Chiara Study Center in the rural hill town of Castiglion Fiorentino. The center is located in the southern rural Tuscany region of Italy approximately fifty miles southeast of Florence and 125 miles northeast of Rome. The landscape setting offers the opportunity to experience a rural and urban landscape that is a blend of Etruscan, Greek, Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and contemporary expressions.

The primary academic studio emphasis for the semester will focus on the organization, form, and character of urban space such as piazzas and villa courtyards. You will develop a specific studio design solution for an urban space within the community of Castiglion Fiorentino, as well as the analysis of several urban italian outdoor spaces. The program will be limited to a maximum of 12 total graduate and/or undergraduate students.


Courses will focus on a minimum of 12 semester credit hours. This will allow for the possibility of receiving financial aid. The specific courses are as follows:

  1. LARC 4401/LARC 6401: Urban Design (4 credits)
  2. LARC 4404/LARC 5316: Materials and Details (4 credits)
  3. LARC 4000: Internship (Variable, 1 to 6 credits)
  4. LARC 4001/LARC 5001: Landscape Architecture Problems (Variable, 1-4 credits)
  5. LARC 6302: Landscape Architecture Special Problems (3 credits)

All students must register for LARC 4401 and LARC 4404. The remaining credits will be acquired from either internship or problems. Studio attendance is mandatory. All classes are taught by Texas Tech Landscape Architecture faculty. During the semester, several Italian guest lectures will occur on a variety of art, architecture, and landscape architecture topics.

Grading Procedure

Each student will be assigned a grade based on an evaluation of all their course work in LARC 4401, 4404, 4001, and 4000 before departing the Santa Chiara study center, Italy. This grade will then be adjusted upwards or downwards based on their individual FINAL GRAPHIC FORMATTED SUBMISSION. Failure to submit the FINAL GRAPHIC FORMATTED work on an individual CD will result in the grade being changed to an F-Failure for any of the four courses.

Note: TTU students must have completed GEOG 3303 (Geographical Information Systems) since it's a prerequisite for the Spring design course LARC 4402.

Academic Schedule

The academic program will begin in late August or early September 2014 and conclude late November or early December 2014. (Dates are subject to change and will hopefully be finalized by May.) Two three-day field trips, one to Rome and another to Venice, will allow the opportunity to visit other destinations on their own or in small groups. The fall break typically occurs after the structured three days in Venice. This allows students the opportunity to visit other destinations in Italy or the European continent.

The weekly academic schedule will consist of studio and lecture from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and some Fridays, with a one-hour lunch break typically at 12:30 p.m. Structured field trips will occur on either Wednesday, Thursday, or some Fridays. Typically Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are open for individual travel and study. The Texas Tech studio space will follow the Center's established policies related to availability (open) hours. Expect the studio to be closed (locked) from approximately midnight to 7 a.m. daily. Seceondly, under NO conditions will alcohol of any kind be allowed in the studio space.

Transportation / Travel

Each participant is responsible for acquiring transportation to and from Italy. Several airlines offer competitive rates for students. The two primary airports that are in close proximity to Castiglion Fiorentino are in Rome and Florence. Travel to the center from the Rome and Florence airports is by train. The travel time is about one hour from Florence and two hours from Rome. Note: In most travel conditions it's best to fly to Rome's Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.


An important component in your travel in Italy (Europe in general) is a valid U.S. passport. The program is scheduled to last less than 90 days, so a visa is NOT REQUIRED. If you plan to spend more than 90 total days in any European region, you will be required to have a visa. The Texas Tech Study Abroad Office will assist you in acquiring a visa. You must obtain this visa ahead of time. Please discuss this item with both Professor Billing and Elizabeth McDaniel at the Study Abroad Office. Begin the application process of acquiring a passport immediately; it can take up to six to eight weeks to acquire this REQUIRED document as well as an additional four to six weeks to acquire a visa if needed.

Travel outisde of Italy should be restricted to (European) countries only.


Part of the academic program and experience includes non-credit Italian language instruction. The Italians are friendly and encourage your use of the Italian language regardless of your level. Knowing some Italian can be very valuable.


Estimated costs for the program include the following. Dollar values are based on a 1.40 average Euro exchange rate.

Expense Number Description Estimated Amount
1 Tuition and Fees. 12 credits, in-state, with an assumed tuition increase of 2% for Fall 2014. (Some fees are waived.) $3500
2 Room, Board, and Structured Field Trips. Laundry service, room cleaning, lunch, dinner, etc. Lunch and dinner served M-F; Saturday and Sunday, only dinner is served. $8800
3 Room and Studio Damage Deposit. Paid by each student upon arrival and Santa Chiara and returned at the end of the semester if no damage; US dollars. $200
4 Association Management Fee. Non-refundable; U.S. dollars paid on arrival at Santa Chiara. $100
5 Italian Language Lessons. $100
6 Breakfast. Monday - Friday. $130
7 Lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Paid by each student on an individual basis. $125
8 Museum, Villa and Cultural Site Admission Fees. $225
9 Airfare. Dallas to Rome, round trip. Individual arrangements. $1300
-- TOTAL $14480

Participants should be aware that the budget does not include individual spending money. Individuals should budget accordingly -- best estimate is $500/month.


As a way of securing a place in the program, a deposit will be required. At this point in time, a specific amount has not been determined. Assume an amount of $500 to $1000 U.S. dollars, which will be charged by Texas Tech University Study Abroad to your student business account.

For further information, please contact Associate Professor John Billing, Department of Landscape Architecture, at 806.742.2858, or e-mail at

Italy Tentative Academic Schedule, Fall 2014 (subject to change)

  1. Arrive Santa Chiara Study Center, Castiglion Fiorentino, as a group on Friday, August 29, 2014, approximately 3:30 P.M. and check into rooms.
  2. Formal field trip Sunday, August 31, Arezzo.
  3. Formal classes begin Monday, September 1, 2014.
  4. Formal classes Mon, Tues, Thurs, and some Fridays -- 8:30 A.M. to 6 P.M.
  5. Formal academic field trips -- every Wednesday 6 A.M. to 6 P.M., and some Fridays.
  6. Organized extended field trip to Rome, late September, dates yet to be finalized, Villa d'Este, Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, etc.
  7. Organized extended field trip to Venice, late October, dates to be finalized.
  8. Fall Break starts Friday, after Venice field trip. The Center is open but no meals are served. Sunday, November 2, dinner will be served. Formal class starts again on Monday, November 3, at 8:30 A.M.
  9. Depart the Center Monday, November 24, 2014, return to U.S.
  • Note: Some dates subject to change. All dates hopefully will be finalized by May 1, 2014.
  • Note: Survival Italian language lessons will be given twice a week for one hour.

Additional Notes:

  1. John Billing's home phone: 806-797-5939, for contact during Summer.
  2. John Billing's cell phone: 806-283-3105 (contact phone carrier to establish international service).
  3. E-mail: -- Italy.
  4. Before departing for the summer, everyone needs to pick up graphic items.
  5. Specific dates for Rome, Venice field trips, as well as fall break should be available by May 2014.

Rome Arrival Sequence: Friday, August 29, 2014


  1. Arrive in Rome on Friday morning between 8:30 to 10:30 A.M., August 29, 2014, Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (Fiumicino). While on the aircraft and before landing have about 40 euros easily available as well as your passport easily available for customs. *NOTE: Due to flight time, you will depart the U.S. on Thursday, August 28, 2014, arriving in Rome in the morning of August 29, 2014.
  2. Go through Customs, very easy.
  3. Acquire checked baggage, depart baggage area.
  4. Walk across Sky Bridge over access road (2nd floor) from airport. Follow overhead graphic symbol of a train (TRENI) to the train station which will take you to Rome's main train station Termini. The train name is the Leonardo Express, usually the center track.
  5. Acquire train ticket -- about 14 to 16 euros. Make sure a must validate ticket in the yellow machine. Take ticket with you on the train. Conductor will want to see and punch your ticket. About a 30 minute train ride. *Note: Keep a close eye on your baggage and all personal items. Do not leave them by the train door.
  6. Depart train with bags, most likely track 24. Stay on this level, walk straight with tracks on your right to the main part of the Rome Station. Turn right.
  7. All the ends of the tracks will be on your right. Go to approximately the center of the train station -- about track 11. Look to your left; you will see a McDonald's restaurant.
  8. I/we will meet at the McDonald's restaurant inside the Rome train station on the ground level. If you are traveling with other students, stay together as a group.
  9. We will then travel by train as a group to Castiglion Fiorentino/Santa Chiara Study Center
  • Note: While on the flight from the U.S. to Italy, get out of your seat at least every hour or two and walk around. Even go stand in the bathroom and stretch your legs.

Structured Italian Academic Field Trips

As a general guide, the following is a list of POTENTIAL (subject to change) structured weekly academic field trips.

  • Villa d'Este at Tivoli -- UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cultural
  • Piazza di San Pietro/St. Peters, Rome -- UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cultural
  • Piazza Novona, Rome
  • Villa Lante
  • Sacro Bosco, Bomarzo
  • Villa Farnese
  • Assisi -- UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cultural
  • San Gimignano -- UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cultural
  • Piazza del Campo, Siena -- UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cultural
  • Piazza della Signoria, Florence -- UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cultural
  • Boboli Gardens, Florence
  • Villa Medici, Fiesole, Florence -- UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cultural
  • Villa Gamberaia Settignano, Florence
  • Piazza San Marco/St. Mark's, Venice
  • Pienza -- UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cultural
  • Venice and Lagoon -- UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cultural

NOTE: The UNESCO World Heritage sites are properties that have cultural, natural, or mixed heritage and are considered to have outstanding universal value. For a complete list of Italy's World Heritage site, go to the UNESCO website.