University of Nebraska at Lincoln Landscape Architecture Program in Rome Summer 2024

NEW FOR 2024 – Join AIA for six intense weeks to explore stunning sites in Rome and across Italy.

Open to students and educators, this active and rich summer program will immerse participants of many disciplines into the incomparable culture of environmental design and ideas of the Italian natural and urban landscape.

Based in Rome with frequent excursions and field trips, this program will present a broad array of both historical and contemporary design environments. Each activity has been carefully crafted to explore specific design ideas and sensory experiences, from the Mediterranean seaside to a volcano’s cone, from the vibrant urban center of the Eternal City to a remote medieval pilgrimage trail.

Program Description

The UNL Landscape Architecture program at AIA offers students and educators the chance to live and study in the heart of Italy’s capital for 6 full weeks, while exploring a rich variety of natural and built sites and cultural attractions across Italy.

All courses and activities involve the engaged, active and thoughtful exploration of both rich real places and the cultural and intellectual context that give them meaning. Participants will experience authentic local culture guided by the personal attention of instructors, diverse experts and professionals and experienced support staff.

The program is open to both students and educators in a broad variety of disciplines with an interest in environmental design, cultural heritage management, urbanism, history, European thought and Italian language and culture. Participants will enroll in two Rome-based courses for 6 UNL credits. All instruction is provided by local professionals, and participants will study Italian language with a native speaker.

Program Highlights

6 Weeks in Italy
The program runs a full 6 weeks, from May 20 to June 30, 2024.

Two major field trips and 3 day-trip excursions are included in tuition. Participants will travel on high-speed rail, stay in comfortable hotels, and sample regional cuisine as we travel.

Cultural Visits
Each week you will visit urban spaces and landscapes, museums, archeological and other cultural sites in Rome, and many more on field trips. All entrance fees to program visits are covered by tuition.

Earn UNL Credit
Two courses offer a total of 6 direct UNL credits.

Creative Coursework and Activities
Build your skills and your portfolio through creative and collaborative coursework that encourages drawing, writing and photography – no previous experience is necessary.

Beautiful Urban Facilities
You will work in fully equipped facilities located in an elegant historic palace in the very heart of Rome.

Convenient Housing
The program provides comfortable housing convenient to AIA facilities.

Italian Language Class
You will learn Italian language and culture in a natural and fun way with an engaging native language professor.

Professional Contacts
You’ll meet and learn from local faculty, guest experts and other professionals.

Special Activities
Extracurricular activities include multi-course group dinners, Italian films, cooking lessons, and more. Student life in Rome includes all a big city can offer, from live music and soccer games to shopping, lively streets and relaxing parks.

Field Trips & Excursions

You will frequently leave the classroom behind to explore the remarkable urban spaces and landscapes of Rome. Planned Rome-based activities include: the medieval churches of the Celian Hill and the Villa Celimontana, Rome’s Botanical Gardens, the Villa Farnesina, the Baths of Caracalla, the Museum of the Aurelian Walls with a walk along Rome’s ancient walls, the Ara Pacis Museum & Mausoleum of Augustus (exterior), the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill & Colosseum, a Boat trip on the Tiber River and many walking tours of Rome’s historic neighborhoods.

In addition to many regular site visits in the city center, we will investigate course themes on inspiring field trips and excursions outside the city. These will include:

Tivoli Day-Trip
At the end of week one the program will make the short trip to Tivoli to visit the sprawling ancient Roman villa of the emperor Hadrian and the splendid Renaissance gardens and water features of the Villa D’Este. The trip will include a welcome lunch to celebrate the end of your first week in Rome.

Via Francigena Field-Trip
This three-day trip will begin with a day exploring the urban spaces, and historic character of an Italian hill town. The group will enjoy a local dinner and depart early the next morning on a hike along the historic pilgrims way of the Via Francigena (which runs from Canterbury in England, through Rome to Bari in southern Italy). The hike will pass through the countryside of Tuscany or Lazio, along pastures, agricultural land and historic and picturesque hill towns. AIA’s Andrea Ciasca Marra, who has a double PhD in anthropology, philosophy and European thought, will lead the group and interpret the landscape through a literary and anthropological lens. Claudia Cremasco, who has hiked the trail from Siena nearly to Rome, will accompany the group and offer on-site language and culture activities. The group will eat and sleep in a small town along the pilgrims’ trail, and participants may choose to return to Rome or explore more on their own at the end of day three’s hike.

Ostia Antica Day-Trip
On this day trip outside of Rome, participants will travel to the archeological site of Rome’s ancient port city to understand Roman planning and discuss cultural heritage management issues surrounding the preservation and use of historical sites and the relationship of archeological monuments and their landscape context. Participants may spend the late afternoon at the Ostia seaside before returning to Rome.

Campania Field Trip
This two-day, one-night trip will explore the area south of Naples. On day one, participants will tour and draw the spectacular ancient Greek and Roman ruins of the Paestum Archaeological Park. We will have a late lunch at a buffalo mozzarella dairy farm and stay in a hotel with a dinner on a Mediterranean beach. Participants will have an opportunity to swim in the sea in the afternoon. On day two, we will travel to Mount Vesuvius, climb to the summit of the volcano’s cone and enjoy a rustic lunch of locally produced food at a boutique winery whose wine cellar is carved into the solid volcanic tufa that flowed from this storied mountain. At the end of the trip participants may return to Rome or choose to visit independently other sites in the Bay of Naples, such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, the Amalfi Coast or Naples.

Aqueduct Archaeological Park Excursion
Participants will stroll through and discuss this linear park that runs along the ruins of some of Rome’s majestic ancient aqueducts. This tour will offer an opportunity to discuss this ancient infrastructure and contemporary urban landscape design and afford time for sketching in this picturesque landscape. The walk will conclude under the contemporary ruins of an abandoned architectural project by Santiago Calatrava to discuss the concept of the Third Landscape in Rome suburbs.

Renaissance Villas in Lazio Day-Trip
At the end of week five, the group will travel northward in the Lazio Region to visit several spectacular Renaissance villas, including the “total design” expression of the Villa Farnese at Caprarola, the elegant Villa Lante and the surreal playground landscape of the Villa at Bomarzo. The group will enjoy a light lunch of local food between visits and return to Rome together.


LARC 491 – Cultural and Contextual Design Methods
This course provides students with historical, analytical, and theoretical frameworks to understand the relationships between culture, place, and space. This summer course will expose students to Rome as a Historic Urban Landscape where cultural and ecological systems have shaped the development and evolution of the city. The course can count as a Professional Elective, LARC 461 Urbanism or an Open Elective. (3 credits- Rome Program) Instructor: Scott Schlimgen.

LARC 491 – Introduction to Italian Culture and Language
The course uses diverse cultural media to help students understand and interact with the culture around them. The course can count as a Professional History Elective or an Open Elective. (3 credits-Rome Program) Instructor: Claudia Cremasco.


Scott Schlimgen, MArch
Scott is an architect with an MArch II degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a BArch from the University of Arkansas. He founded Academic Initiatives Abroad and the AIA Rome Center in 2009. He has taught architecture for various American universities and has been teaching and running US study abroad programs in Italy since 1990 and UNL classes in Rome since 2021. His interests include socially responsible design, cultural heritage management and the contemporary intersection of history and theory.

Claudia Cremasco, MA
Claudia is AIA’s Coordinator of Language Instruction and an award-winning language teacher with a Laurea in Literature from Rome’s La Sapienza University. Since 1988, she has taught and coordinated Italian language instruction at many universities in Italy and the USA, including Harvard University, Cal Poly State University, the University of Oklahoma and Northeastern University. She has been teaching the UNL Rome Program’s Italian course since 2022.

Contributing Experts

Beatrice Bruscoli, PhD
Beatrice received her BArch from the Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, one of Europe’s oldest and largest universities. She earned an MArch from Ohio State University, and her Ph.D from the Università degli Studi di Genova. She has taught at and directed American architecture programs in Italy for decades and her architectural projects and research have been published and exhibited in many national and international venues. She has been teaching UNL design studios in Rome since 2021.

Andrea Ciasca Marra, PhD
Born and raised in Rome, Andrea graduated first in Ethnology and then in History of Modern Philosophy. In 2013 he was awarded a PhD in European Cultural History at Rome University La Sapienza. As a PhD student and post doc, Andrea worked in many universities at home and abroad. From 2009 to 2010, he was visiting research fellow at London School of Economics, and since 2014 he has collaborated with Università Roma Tre, Università LUMSA and Università del Salento as a Researcher, Adjunct Professor and Teaching Assistant. Andrea joined the AIA team in 2015 as an external collaborator and currently holds the position of Assistant Director of the AIA Rome Center.

Professional Management and Student Support

AIA staff ensure the program runs smoothly and help students get settled in their new home in Italy.

  • Student Services
  • Orientation sessions and materials
  • Immigration assistance Visa and Permesso
  • Online services
  • Housing assistance


The UNL Landscape Architecture Summer Program in Rome is open to a variety of majors. Contact the UNL Landscape department for more information about participation.