Calder Classics

meredith calder_florence.png

Summer in Florence : July 4-17, 2020

A unique summer Classics-inspired Writing Workshop in Florence, Italy designed for high school students to hone their Creative Writing skills. Here, in the birthplace of the Renaissance, we make literature and composition come alive through an interplay of classical studies, art history and travel.

 Creative Writing Workshop in Florence

Florence Writing New.png

Classical myths have long inspired poetry, prose, tragedy, comedy, music, dance and the visual arts. Calder Classics invites students to explore the classical foundation stories and their influence on our culture in our Creative Writing Workshop in Florence this summer. 

Through daily writing workshops, readings of ancient and modern literature, and exploration of local sites our students are sure to hear the local muses and return home with manuscripts of their own modern myths.

Calder Classics Creative Writing students spend two weeks in a furnished apartment in the Oltrarno District of Florence. Site visits and meals are shared with Calder Classics Latin students, although all Writing Workshops are held separately from Latin classes. Immersed in an atmosphere shaped by classical and Renaissance culture, our Creative Writing students’ days consist of reading classical texts in translation as fodder to inspire their creative writing. Under the guidance of an experienced writing mentor students spend time drafting literary pieces in a workshop setting. They also explore local cultural treasures, and take trips to the monuments, churches and museums of Florence with our resident art historian.  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 or with the Calder Classics Reading Latin + Ancient History course in Rome from July 18-30.



Students read classical works in translation by such authors as Homer, Vergil and Ovid, as well as contemporary fiction and poetry. Readings build on classical themes that are carefully curated to inspire each student’s own writing.  In response to prompts based on these themes, students compose and submit their creative writing during workshops where peers and mentors read and critique the work in a constructive and supportive environment.

Each Creative Writing student submits a second draft of a longer piece that is honed further.  In a culminating experience, Creative Writing students share their final polished work aloud with their peers in the Latin program.  

Dive into Italy’s Art, Culture and History

Throughout the course, we engage with local art and historical artifacts that are related thematically to, or directly inspired by, the literature we have read. With our resident art historian 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 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 local haunts is illuminated by a discussion of Dante's Inferno, Vergil's description of Aeneas's trip to the underworld and Tessa Hadley’s short story “Dido’s Lament”. Students then compose a piece around their own visions of the underworld.

Calder Classics Students Have Joined Us From (click here)…

Our alums have gone on to enroll in these top colleges (click here)


Alyssa Northrop

Alyssa Northrop




We have exclusive use of our own large furnished apartment in the residential Oltrarno district of Florence, known for its maze of streets, gardens, basilicas and artisan shops. With full private access to the apartment’s kitchen and living areas, we cook, study and relax together in an intimate and comfortable environment. 

 All rooms are doubles or triples and feature air conditioning  and internet service.


Dates & Fees


July 4-17,  2020

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 our apartment only for those students who travel on the same flights as the chaperones. 

Calder Classics Testimonials

“My time in Florence was an intellectually and culturally enriching experience. Exploring the city every morning (a trip to the Palazzo Strozzi to see works by Verrcocchio and da Vinci was particularly exciting) and returning in the afternoon to a structured academic environment afforded us both intellectual rigor and an immersive travel experience. I had a fantastic time writing, reading, making friends, and becoming familiar with the Florentine world.” Edie, student

“Workshopping with a small group of people in one of the most inspirational cities in the world was truly a great experience. Our reading selection consisted of fantastic stories and excerpts by writers ranging from Dante to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I especially loved seeing the themes we read about appear in our art trips (e.g. the theme of an underdog and then seeing Michelangelo’s David).” Nick, student

“In a visceral way, I connected with the past and really understood the significance of where we were and how what we build and write really serves as our lock against oblivion.” Creative Writing student

"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

Photos From Previous Trips

click to scroll

Reservation Form

Fill out my online form.
About | Contact Us | Join our Mailing List | Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook
Copyright © 2015 Calder Classics LLC | All illustrations by Meredith Hamilton