Regular experiences with gardens and nature have profound physical and psychological benefits. Discover these firsthand as you immerse yourself in the stunning gardens and natural landscapes of Spain and Italy. A warming climate calls for increasingly innovative approaches to landscape design. But wait! Inhabitants of these Mediterranean countries have discovered and refined principles for creating spaces where beautiful plants, stone mosaics, and impressive water features combine to delight the visual senses. In doing so, they create spaces that are cooler and more psychologically comfortable to be in—all while conserving water.
We will experience a variety of public and private gardens, both to improve our understanding of design principles and to appreciate the vital importance of plants in making the built world more livable. As just one example, we will visit the beautiful city of Córdoba during its famous patio festival (“Festival of Flowers”), where courtyard gardens of private residences are open to the public during an annual competition. This spectacular event has been held for over a century and is recognized by inclusion on UNESCO's cultural heritage list. In contrast with the intimate courtyard gardens of Córdoba, many gardens in Spain and Italy will be enormous, exhibiting centuries-old architecture and landscapes on a grand scale.
This will be an active study abroad, with many days requiring lots of walking/hiking throughout the day. We will experience the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, all while enjoying the vibrant cultures of Spain and Italy. Designing your own landscapes during the study abroad will improve your ability to bring the natural world into our built environment in a more deeply satisfying way. And of course, there will be time for visiting major historical locations and enjoying the rich cultures of these two amazing countries.
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