Mini Courses, Workshops, CPD

This year we offer a number of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities, “mini-course” packages, and workshops for those who would like to experience aspects of Building Beauty without the need for an extended stay in Italy. The packages described below include classes that can also be selected individually.

As the academic year progresses, we will offer more opportunities, including Summer School, May 5-15, 2019, in Ghesc, Val Vigezzo, Italy. Please check back for details.


If you would like to select individual topics, or attend for a whole package, please write to us at to let us know of your interest. We will work with you to tailor your package to your interests and the time you have available. This will be developed in conversations between you and the instructors who will be in Sorrento for the period of sojourn. 

Prices listed include the course only. Travel and lodging are to be arranged separately. We may be able to help you find accommodation if you let us know what your needs are. 

More information about the subject areas can be found in the 2017-18 Students’ Learning Journal here, where they describe their experience with the first year course and all its elements. Links to chapters that pertain to the course/workshop are included below.


Introduction to Building Beauty and Sorrento

Dates: November 12 to December 10, 2018


This package includes:

  • an intensive  Italian language course;

  • two guided visits to Sorrento and its environs;

  • The Nature of Order seminar (it’s recommended to participate in the webinar over the whole year).

  • The design of a personal object and one's own home in the studio;

  • workshops in making with Pasquale Ligouori (master craftsman of the Vietri ceramics tradition) and Felice Tagliaferri (a blind sculptor who teaches us to see through feeling);

  • a short course on Observation and Analysis of Urban Settlements.

See Learning Journal chapters 2, 5, and 8 for more information about the class experience.

UK Credits 27; ECTS Credits 13.5; US self-reporting approved by the AIA

Fee: €2250 European Union; €3660 non European Union


Developing a Project Language

Dates: January 7 to February 1, 2019

This package includes:

  • a guided visit to the Sorrento coast;

  • The Nature of Order seminar;

  • developing a project language and land exploration in the studio;

  • design and mockups in the garden;

  • a construction laboratory on local wood pergolas and structures and building in tufo.

See Learning Journal chapters 7, and 10 for information about similar class experiences last year.

UK Credits 23; ECTS credits 11.5; US self-reporting approved by the AIA

Fee: €1900 European Union, €3100 non European  Union

The Nature of Order

Year-long webinar, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 17:00-18:30 Italian time

Dates: November 13, 2018 to April 30, 2019.

The class includes a systematic reading of the Nature of Order, with students alternating presentations of chapters, class exercises used to elaborate and elucidate the major concepts, and guest lecturers by practitioners describing their design and building process and how it helps achieve Beauty. At the end of the course the students prepare a presentation and paper on a topic of their choice, related to the ideas of order and building process presented in the book.

UK Credits 16; ECTS Credits 8; US self-reporting approved by the AIA

Fees: Attendance - no cost; for Credits and Certificate of Completion - to be arranged.


For those with more limited time in Sorrento, we also offer several short hands-on workshops throughout the year where participants can focus on one topic of interest. Additional short workshops will be added in the near future.

Ceramics Workshop


Dates: November 20-22, 2018

Led by Pasquale Ligouri, a master craftsman of the Vietri ceramics tradition, students will select a personal object to make and create designs based on the Vietri tradition.

Fee: €180 European Union, €300 non European  Union


Tile Making Workshop

Dates: November 27-29, 2018

Pasquale Liguori will work with students on design and painting techniques for custom tilework. Students will create designs based on the Vietri tradition, focusing on form and color. 

See Learning Journal chapters 5 and 9 to see how students worked with this last year.

Fee: €180 European Union, €300 non European  Union

Sorrento School Tile Panel  180628-2.jpg


Stone Carving Workshop: The Feeling Hand

Dates: December 11-12, 2018

Led by the famous blind Italian sculptor Felice Tagliaferri, this workshop explores stone carving as not only a visual experience but also one of touch and feeling.  Students work with aerated concrete, an artificial stone that is easy to shape and carve, to create one finished piece by the end of the week. Felice teaches us that we can maintain our ability to feel what we see also when we do use our eyes. And we can learn to touch the whole world as if we need to reproduce it. To touch, not only see, and notice all the finest details. And to see everything in the world as if we also touch it.

See Learning Journal chapter 8 for class information.

Fee: €260 European Union, €430 non European  Union

Traditional Sorrento Construction: Wood and Tufo Structures

Dates: January 21-23, 2019


Wood structures are prominent in the lemon groves and gardens of Sorrento. They are built from local chestnut timber and used to protect the delicate citrus trees from cold winds in winter. We will learn how to build a pergola in wood, and begin to rebuild the pergola in the Sant’Anna Institute’s Garden.

Volcanic Tufo is a local soft stone which is light and soft and therefore easy for carving and chiselling. We will work with “master tuffaro” Luigi Apreda, with whom we built the bench last year to learn to work with the stone, in preparation for building more benches and structures in the garden.

Fee: European Union €350 non European €580

Write to to express interest in attending or request more information.

Summer School

Dates: May 5-15, 2019

Location: Ghesc, Val Vigezzo, Italy

Fee: to be announced

Total credits: EU (ECTS): 10; UK: 20; US self-reporting approved by the AIA

The Summer School is an integral part of the Building Beauty syllabus, but is also offered to external participants as a module of Continuing Professional Education. The Building Beauty Certificate of Attendance is awarded after successful completion of the program.

The village of Ghesc is a place for learning, sharing ideas and working together. Located in the Ossola Valley at the foot of the Alps, between the Maggiore Lake and the Swiss border. Ghesc is a tiny medieval village which was abandoned more than one century ago, and where most of the buildings are in a state of ruin. Our hosts, the Canova Association is dedicated to bringing the village back to life. Every year dozens of energetic and passionate students from all over the world attend educational activities, both practical and theoretical, and contribute to the regeneration of the village. The direct experience of stone building allows them to study and understand the historical architecture from the unique point of view of those who created it.

The Ossola Valley is rich with well-preserved historical, cultural and culinary heritage. The centuries old use of stones generated in this area a wealth of different construction patterns. Through guided-visits and field work, students will have the opportunity to obtain a profound understanding of various traditional stone building techniques. The Summer School is mainly based on direct learning in the building yard. Beside hands-on construction, students will enjoy lectures and guided tours. The building yard is in estates owned by the Canova Association in Ghesc: students will be led in the reconstruction of a double-head bearing masonry wall. The reconstruction will include the opening of a window with monolithic jamb and bearing vault. Beyond masonry techniques, students will learn elements of the geology of materials and lime binders.

Wonderful food and wine, an extraordinary place, challenging work, engaging people, and a life enhancing experience. Save the date and join us.