In January 2008, an interdisciplinary group of eight students from the University of Maryland's School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation participated in a study-abroad program on the cultural and historic resources in the Bay of Naples. Operating from a base camp at Castellammare di Stabia, situated on the southern tip of the bay, the program's focus was to survey towns in the vicinity to better understand regional issues regarding urban planning, historic preservation, and architecture. Specifically the assignment required the studio team to consider the region's historic and natural resources, transportation connections, local development initiatives, and tourism potential. The team concentrated their efforts on Gragnano, located approximately three kilometers from the students' base in Castellammare.
Based on their findings and their respective professional training, the group was tasked to develop recommendations for local officials to address perceived problems. The students' outsider status helped their analysis by providing a fresh approach to identifying challenges and providing solutions. This report is the product of the team's investigations, reflecting their findings as well as recommendations to improve the quality of life for Gragnano's current and future residents, enhance cultural and civic resources, attract tourism, and conserve historic structures and natural resources.