Calder Classics

meredith calder_florence.png

Summer in Florence : June 21-July 2, 2017

Join us for this unique summer learning experience in Florence, Italy, designed for high school students with a passion for Creative Writing and an interest in classical mythology.


Creative Writing Workshop in Florence

Classical myths have long inspired literature, drama and visual arts. Calder Classics is excited to offer a Creative Writing Workshop in Florence in the summer of 2017 that takes full advantage of Florence's rich representation of these myths to prompt our students' work. Through daily writing workshops, readings in ancient and modern literature, exploration of ancient sites and cultural immersion our students are sure to hear the local muses and return home with their own modern myths.

We spend the twelve days together in a stunning villa in the Oltrarno District of Florence. Immersed in an atmosphere shaped by classical and Renaissance history, our days consist of reading and writing fiction and poetry in a workshop setting, exploring local treasures, and taking trips to the churches and monuments of Fiesole and Rome or other nearby places that tie into our writing themes. The evenings feature cultural, leisure, and culinary offerings.

The end date of this course is coordinated to permit students to optionally continue with the advanced Reading Latin + Art History session in Florence.



We will begin by reading, in English, classic myths and stories from Homer, Vergil and Ovid. Mentors give students prompts to help engage classical themes from these myths in their work. We explore not only writing myth, but also short stories and poetry.  Formal techniques such as structure, voice, and literary devices are analyzed and discussed. Peers and teachers read and critique student work in a constructive and supportive community setting.

The twelve days culminate in a bookbinding session in which each student publishes a piece they have written and workshopped while in Florence.  

Dive into Italy’s Art, Culture and History

Throughout the course, we engage with local art and historical remains that are related thematically to, or directly inspired by, the literature we have read. We explore the treasures of Florence, a myriad of museums, monuments, churches, palazzos and piazzas, and view such works as the Duomo of Florence, the Fra Angelico frescoes at the Convent of San Marco and a selection of Last Supper paintings. Our workshop discussions will focus on the historical context and broader themes of the art as well as its connection to the writing prompts.  For example, a visit to Dante's house and local haunts is illuminated by a discussion of Dante's Inferno, Vergil's description of Aeneas's trip to the underworld and Mary Gaitskill's short story "The Other Place".  Students then write a piece inspired by the theme of the underworld.

Calder Classics Students Have Joined Us From…

Andover, Berkshire School, Brearley, Chapin, Charlotte Country Day School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Clark School, Collegiate, Columbia Prep, Dalton, The Dexter School, Dwight Englewood School, Exeter, Groton, The Harker School, High School of RenMin University of China, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville, Liberty High School, Manhattan Friends, Marymount, Middlesex, Milton Academy, Packer, Portsmouth Abbey, Princeton High School,  Riverdale, Sage Hill, Sage Ridge, Saint Ann's, Saint Ignatius College Prep, Spence, St. Joseph, Stuyvesant, Taft, Trinity, Veritas Preparatory Academy and Woodrow Wilson... Add your school to the list!


Alyssa Northrop

Alyssa Northrop

Carol Shaw

Carol Shaw




We have use of a spectacular villa in the heart of the residential Oltrarno district of Florence. The little maze of streets, known for its gardens, basilicas and artisans, provides an intimate view of the creative talents that carry on centuries' worth of Florentine traditions from bookbinders and sculptors to metalworkers and gold-gilders. Flooded with light and color, the villa is accessible from via Santo Spirito, one of the chicest streets in the district. Inside, we have our own dedicated floor and classroom/library where we hold classes, study or just relax, along with a common kitchen and lounge. All rooms are doubles or triples. There is air conditioning and Internet service.

Dates & Fees


Session 1: June 21 to July 2,  2017

The $5,000 tuition includes accommodations, transportation within Italy, museum entries, instruction and course materials (certain additional books may need to be purchased). Breakfast, plus either lunch or dinner, are also included. Depending on our daily schedules, students will be on their own for either a midday lunch break or an evening dinner break.  Students are responsible for the cost of their own activities outside of the group. Airfare is not included.



Students may travel with our chaperone on both legs of the journey, from New York City to Florence and from Florence to New York City. Calder Classics will arrange transportation between the airport and the villa for those students who choose to travel with the chaperones. International travel insurance is recommended.

Calder Classics Testimonials

"I am a firm believer that happy kids love to learn, especially when they are in an environment surrounded by great educators and other enthusiastic students. My daughter loved your program. The photos and updates you sent home were priceless and she enjoyed the small intimate group. These kids will be friends for a long time." - Jojo H, parent

"Calder Classics is an amazing experience that greatly improved my translation skills and added to the wonder of the city of Florence. Exploring the city and seeing some of the most beautiful art that exists was the highlight of my summer, especially because it was with such a great group of people. Cindy is fantastic, and I would recommend the program to all." - Anson J., student

"I had an amazing time in Florence this summer with Calder Classics.  The program was a great mix of academic Latin and cultural immersion.  I made so many great friends from across the country and saw buildings and statues that we had read about in my Latin class at school.  I loved the experience of reading Latin in the morning and then seeing either, artwork that the texts inspired, or the geological areas by which it was inspired, in the afternoon." - Davis H, student

"It wasn’t until the Calder Classics Latin Program in Florence that I realized that Classics is the best way for an artist to ground his interests in academics. Art, culture, and the origin of the Romance languages come together in one program that is by far the only summer course I would consider returning to again. I recommend Calder Classics for those who want to challenge their intellect and immerse themselves in new experiences." - Matthew H., student

"Thank you, Calder Classics, for providing our daughter with a memorable summer experience of three interrelated components: language, culture and fun.  She returned with newfound confidence in her Latin skills and has begun a new semester reading from prose and verse authors with ease.  The engaging activities and friendships she established from this unique learning and personal growth adventure will not soon be forgotten." - Darlene J., parent

"Sarah's trip to Florence with Calder Classics was the highlight of her summer. The class time reading Latin was challenging and interesting and always led to something that the group could then experience or see in a new way in the city- she loved that. She also enjoyed her travel companions; she came home with lots of stories and many pictures! She left with a sense of having really lived in Florence and with a greater appreciation of the history and culture of what she studies when she reads Latin." - Kristin V., parent

"I had an absolutely incredible time in Florence! All the people on the program were amazing and Mrs. Calder was a wonderful Latin teacher. I really feel that going on this program helped me gain confidence in my translating abilities and important translation experience. Meg, who was our Art/Art History aficionado/teacher, had a staggering amount of knowledge to impart upon us each day about the sights we were visiting. I loved this program, so I would love to come back someday!" - Alexia H., student

“Calder Classics was an amazing experience. The Latin and Art History teaching was fantastic, and I loved making new friends and exploring Italy." - Alexis B., 11th Grader

"Calder Classics provides a first class opportunity for high school students to learn Latin and Art History from exceptional teachers. The program does a particularly wonderful job incorporating the treasures of Florence and Tuscany into the curriculum." - Debbie and Richard B., parents

Photos From Previous Trips

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Reservation Form

Once you submit this Reservation Form, you will receive an email with a link to our full Application Form. After we receive a completed Application Form, a Calder Classics representative may be in touch with the applicant if further information is required to determine whether the program is suitable for the student’s level and experience. Students will be notified about their acceptance status upon assessment of the Application Form and the receipt of a required teacher recommendation. Reserved spots may be held for 10 days prior to receipt of the completed Application Form.

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