Italy, Seravezza, Lucca

The City and the Water - Michelangelo and the historical Versilia: land intervention

when 25 July 2016 - 3 August 2016
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 6 EC
fee EUR 700

The Versilia Summer School will involve students and young professionals working together on the Versilia area, from the mountains to the sea, for a ten-days full immersion teamwork. Special attention will be paid to public spaces along the river Versilia where the shared collective values of the urbs had formed.
The river Versilia was the place to settle: it provided access to marble, water for drinking, irrigating and stone cutting, but now it has disappeared from daily life, due to dikes, traffic, dangers of flooding and the large industrial plots.
Nevertheless, the water is clean, it's color is a delight for the eye, it's natural setting is bewildering and the history of the valley is remarkable: it provided marble for the Renaissance art and architecture and was explored by Michelangelo.

The workshop in Seravezza is about the paradoxes of 1) access to the river and safety, 2) recreation and nature protection, 3) bathing culture and industrial landscape.
How can we create awareness of the river as a place for comfort and reconciliation? How could the river tie the very different landscapes of marble alps, agricultural hills, small towns, large industries and sprawl together?
How can Fiume Versilia be loved again?
How would artist and architect Michelangelo respond to our needs and knowlegde, capital and politics, tools and cars?

For this we will study the present situation of solutions and dilemmas, research interactions of geology, villages and river banks and design gardens, artworks, small architectures and infrastructure for good health, bathing, recreation and meeting. The findings, ideas and designs will be presented at an exhibition in Palazzo Mediceo, Seravezza.

Of course, we want to design Observatorium style: works of imagination and magic added to places with potential for wonder, highly accessible and inviting, symbolic for the present culture of the site and multifunctional, celebrating generosity and creating an awareness for man's cultivation of the wilderness.

Andre Dekker, Observatorium Rotterdam
Artistic and scientific director of the Versilia Summerschool

Course leader

Prof. Marco Giorgio Bevilacqua
e-mail address:;
Board Prof. Roberto Pierini
e-mail address:

Target group

The international workshop - summer school is oriented to students in Architecture, Urban planning, Design, Building engineering, Art Schools, and also to young professionals and artists from all EU and non EU countries.

Course aim

The goal of the Summer School 2016 is therefore the formulation of proposals for the environment, urban and territorial regeneration planning in this area. Participants will therefore led to discover the lesser-known characters of the territory in order to acquire values and criticisms, in order to operate the economic, social and cultural mend between the Sea and the Mountain.

Fee info

EUR 700: This fee includes accommodation, breakfasts, lunches and teaching materials.
EUR 400: This fee includes lunches and teaching materials.

Register for this course
on course website