Study Abroad

Scenic Italian countryside

Italy Study Abroad

May 17, 2020 - June 6, 2020

This three-credit study abroad course offers a true insider’s view of the fashion capitals of Florence and Milan, together with a leather workshop in San Miniato. Students will visit manufacturers, tanneries and points of interest near Pisa and the seaside city of Viareggio. 

Open to sophomore, junior and senior undergraduate students and all graduate-level students, this study-abroad travel experience course will have strong cultural and illustration components. Graduate students will have the unique opportunity to develop their master’s theses and undergraduate students will foster a deeper knowledge of the past, present and future of fashion. Each student will have a sketching assignment, followed by a daily “download” meeting either before or after dinner.

Developed by the Fashion Accessories Design department at the College For Creative Studies, this program is led by adjunct faculty member Thomas Carbone with support from our education partner in Italy, Diane Becker, creative consultant and international studies director.

Application Deadline

January 24, 2020

  1. Complete the Italy Study Abroad Application
  2. Upload a PDF portfolio with your application
  3. Attach a one page statement of intent on why this program is beneficial to you
  4. Pay a good faith deposit of $400.00. The deposit can be paid via credit/debit card by visiting our Payment Store.

Admissions Decisions will be announced by January 30, 2020.

Apply Now

NOTE: Deposit funds for those not traveling will be refunded on February 1. After February 1, deposits for accepted students are applied to the overall program cost.

Program Details

Students will have the opportunity to study in four different locations in Italy: 


Italy is home to the most important fashion brands in the world, including Gucci, Armani, Prada and Ferragamo. When studying fashion accessories, a visit to Florence is a must, and that is where the trip will begin. In Florence, the students will be exposed to culture (museums and street style), retail (visual merchandising and store visits) and  manufacturing. Many of the events included may well be once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Museum destinations include the amazing Ferragamo Museum, the Palazzo Pitti for their costume collections, and the Uffizi Galleries, which are home to several of the world's most iconic art collections. 

Florence maintains extensive and varied retail options, with Gucci and Ferragamo flagships located in the city center. Students will be given retail destination research projects with the endless brands occupying the city’s historic center. 

The manufacturing and design opportunities nearby are numerous. The program will include:

  • The leather hardware supplier Senatori Spa is one of the largest hardware and tool suppliers in the world, one with which our department maintains an ongoing relationship.
  • A last-making manufacturer, Formificio Romagnolo, seamlessly weaves old-world craft with highly technical, modern methods to provide the shoemaking industry with masterful products.
  • A  luxury handbag maker (TBD)
  • A leather tannery, Volpi Concerie, is a member of the Consorzio Vera Pelle, a consortium devoted to the sustainable and responsible creation of the finest leathers. Among other sustainable manufacturing goals, the consortium is dedicated to making 100% Italian leather in a manner that minimizes impact on the environment.

San Miniato

Our second destination during the program will be an exclusive weeklong workshop in San Miniato. We will stay at the ancient monastery of Santa Chiara, founded in 1226. Using traditional making techniques, students will learn and experiment with various leather techniques and produce a pair of shoes with their own hands; no machines allowed! This portion of the course is organized by Diane Becker and sponsored by the Consorzio Vera Pelle. This hands-on immersion will broaden students’ awareness of design, materials and processes, providing a unique and invaluable educational experience.


In Viareggio, students will immerse themselves in Italian coastal life. On the way to Viareggio, we will stop for a visit to the iconic Tower of Pisa. Once in Viareggio, we will switch our focus from the tactile activity of making to the visual exercise of illustration. Italy is a maritime country and, as a result, it was and is a major center for world commerce.


In Milan students will discover the history and experience the future of fashion.

“In 2014, Milan was regarded as the world fashion capital (based upon frequency of mentions in global media outlets), even surpassing New York, Paris, Rome and London. In 2011, Milan was ranked #4, behind London, New York, and Paris. Many of the major Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Versace, Prada, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Iceberg, Missoni, Trussardi, Moschino, Dirk Bikkembergs, Etro, and Zegna are currently headquartered in the city. International fashion labels also operate shops in Milan, including the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store which has become a main consumer attraction. Milan also hosts a fashion week twice a year, just like other international centers such as Paris, London and New York. Milan's main upscale fashion district is the "quadrilatero della moda" (literally, "fashion quadrilateral"), where the city's most prestigious shopping streets (Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, Via Manzoni and Corso Venezia) are [located]. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Piazza del Duomo, Via Dante and Corso Buenos Aires are other important shopping streets and squares.” (Wikipedia)

Accommodations will be arranged through an agency working in conjunction with CCS Fashion Accessories Design and International Student Services departments. Each room can accommodate 2 to 4 program participants. The trip is also designed to offer participants the opportunity to learn from and connect with their peers, therefore we encourage students to room with each other. 

Two cost options are available

  • $7,707 – for 3 credits  
    Cost includes payment for three undergraduate or graduate credit hours, as well as accommodations, studio fees, museum fees, some meals, and all transportation in Italy. International airfare NOT included.

  • $5,487 – for 0 credits
    Cost includes payment for study abroad course, as well as accommodations, studio fees, museum fees, some meals, and all transportation in Italy. International airfare NOT included.

The College for Creative Studies only offers GLOBAL FUNDS scholarships to select students enrolled at the College. This small scholarship helps to offset the price of the overseas plane ticket. Please apply at the International Student Services Office. Scholarships are limited. Guest students, please check with the study abroad office at your educational institutions regarding opportunities that may be available.

The Italy Study Abroad course is an official academic course of the College For Creative Studies Fashion Accessories Design department. CCS is a fully accredited art and design college offering BFA and MFA degrees. Students who successfully complete this course will receive three credit hours. These can be transferred to your home institution to be applied toward  your BA, BFA, MA or MFA degree. 

Candidates must arrange their own flight to Italy. Travelers should fly into Florence (FLR) and will need a valid passport. If you are unsure of your status, please check with your consulate to verify. 

Citizens of the United States with a valid US passport can travel to 26 European member countries of the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days for short-term tourism or a business trip without having to apply for or obtain a Schengen visa.

However, this policy changes when it concerns US residents of other nationalities. Foreign nationals residing in the United States who wish to visit Europe may or may not need a visa, depending on their nationality.

  • US residents coming from countries that have established visa-free entry to the EU do not need to obtain a visa to enter Europe.
  • On the other hand, US residents arriving from countries that have not established visa-free entry to the EU will have to apply for a Schengen visa in the United States in order to enter any of these countries.
  • Please check your status  here: 

Despite the fact that US citizens do not need to obtain an EU visa prior to their travel to Schengen, they still need to have certain documents with them in order to be allowed to enter a European visa-free zone.

When American travelers arrive at the border to enter the Schengen Area, they will be asked by border guard to present the following documents:

  • A US Passport. It must not be older than 10 years and it should be valid for at least three more months beyond the intended date of departure from the Schengen Area.
  • Evidence of the purpose of entry. Documents that show why the US citizen is traveling to the Schengen Area.
  • Proof of sufficient financial means. Documents proving that the US traveler has the financial means to support themselves during their entire stay in Europe.


Katherine Campbell 
International Student Services department