Calder Classics

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Ancient Greek in Florence: July 16-30, 2019

A unique summer experience in Florence, Italy designed for students with a desire to learn ancient Greek. Here, in the birthplace of Renaissance humanism where the study of ancient Greek flourished, we make the Classics come alive through the interplay of language, philosophy, mythology and art history.

Introduction to Ancient Greek

Calder Classics invites high school students to learn ancient Greek with us in Florence this summer. Over the course of a two-week program, the Classics come alive through the study of ancient Greek, the exploration of philosophy and classical mythology in Renaissance and modern art, and an immersion in modern Florentine life.  

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Based in the Oltrarno and immersed in an atmosphere shaped by the rebirth of classical Greek studies in Florence, students spend their days learning Greek grammar and vocabulary and reading the great authors of Greek literature in translation.  We discover many of the well-known and hidden treasures of Florence and surrounding cities. The evenings feature Italy's wonderful cultural, leisure and culinary offerings.  One free day is scheduled per week for students who choose to experience Florence on their own (with advance parental permission), or rest at the villa.

Learn to Read Ancient Greek


Beginner to advanced beginner students dedicate a morning and/or an afternoon session each day to learning the basics of the ancient Greek language—including noun, adjective and participle declensions, verbs forms and other parts of speech, as well as the basics of Greek syntax. Those with some experience in the language can enjoy portions of the course as a review. We use Greek, An Intensive Course by Hardy Hansen and Gerald M. Quinn, a textbook designed to help students acquire an ability to read and appreciate the great works of Greek literature as quickly as possible.

While emphasizing the fundamentals of the language, the Introduction to Ancient Greek course integrates the study of unadapted prose and poetry. We introduce such authors as Homer, Plato and Aristotle.

Clustered in small groups, our Greek students have an opportunity to advance their skills quickly through the intensive personal attention of Johanna Braff, a Greek teacher during the school year at The Dalton School.  

Dive into Greek Philosophy and Mythology

Located in the heart of the Italian Renaissance, our students have the perfect opportunity to understand how the literal “rebirth” of classical Greek thought and culture was experienced in 14th-16th century Italy. After reading and discussing various ancient works from Plato in translation, we look at a number of other ancient and Renaissance philosophers who were inspired by Platonic thought. During our analysis of the contrasting ideals set forth in Plato’s Republic and Machiavelli’s The Prince we visit Machiavelli’s nearby home. Our study of Plato is beautifully visualized in the canvas of Florence where the artistic expression of such local masters as Michelangelo depicted Greek ideas.

Throughout the program, we introduce ancient Greek mythology with an emphasis on themes that captivated the Renaissance, as well as more contemporary, Italian artists. The Greek myths come to life in the magnificent artwork of the Renaissance masters found throughout Florence allowing students to fuse their readings with visual representations. We explore these interpretive works in local museums, monasteries and public spaces.  Students will take in the visual delights of Florence with their newfound Greek learning, which is guaranteed to enhance their experience and deepen their appreciation of the beautiful history of this wondrous city. Highlights of the program may include day trips to nearby places of interest such as Fiesole and Siena.

Calder Classics Students Have Joined Us From…

ARIZONA: Veritas Prep  CONNECTICUT: Canterbury, Choate, Greenwich Academy, Hotchkiss, Milton, Taft  CALIFORNIA: The Harker School, Sage Hill School CHINA: High School of RenMin University of China, Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal ILLINOIS: Saint Ignatius College Prep  MARYLAND: Mt Hebron, Oldfields, Saint James School  MASSACHUSETTS: Berkshire School, Clark School, Concord Academy, The Dexter School, The Faye School, Groton, Middlesex, Milton Academy, Newton North, Philips Andover, Tabor Academy, Winchester High MISSOURI: Liberty High School  NEW HAMPSHIRE:  Phillips Exeter, Saint Paul's  NEW JERSEY: Dwight Englewood, Lawrenceville, Northern Valley Regional, Peddie School, Pingry, Princeton High, Stuart Country Day  NEVADA:  Sage Ridge School  NEW YORK: Brearley, Chapin, Collegiate, Columbia Prep, Dalton, Hackley, Holy Child, Manhattan Friends, Marymount, Nichols School, Packer Collegiate, The Park School, Riverdale, Rye Country Day, Saint Ann's, St. Joseph, St. Joseph-by-the-Sea, Stuyvesant, Spence, Trinity  NORTH CAROLINA:  Charlotte Country Day, Ravenscroft  PENNSYLVANIA:  Emmaus, Germantown Friends, Westtown Friends  RHODE ISLAND:  Portsmouth Abbey, Providence Country Day  SOUTH CAROLINA:  Ashley Hall TEXAS:  Saint Mark's  VIRGINIA: Woodberry Forest  WASHINGTON D.C.:  Saint Alban's, Sidwell Friends, Woodrow Wilson... Add your school to the list!


Johanna Braff

Johanna Braff

Felicia Kang

Felicia Kang

Meg Shore

Meg Shore

Aulden Foltz

Aulden Foltz



We stay in a palazzo situated directly on the banks of the Arno River in the heart of the residential Oltrarno district of Florence . Living in the heart of this culturally-rich neighborhood provides us with 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, our residence 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 accommodate 2 to 4 students. There is air conditioning and Internet service.

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Dates and Fees

Dates: July 16-30, 2019

The $5,000 tuition includes accommodations, transportation within Italy, museum entries, instruction and course materials (certain additional books 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. 



"The Calder Classics ancient Greek summer program created the perfect balance of academic studies and cultural activities for our daughter this summer. The teachers are experts in their field and their passion for Ancient Greek studies has inspired our daughter to continue her Classical education in college. This is her second summer with Calder Classics and each program has fostered her passion to learn. Thank you Cindy for creating a program that teaches the students to look at the world a little differently."  parent, Florence and Thessaloniki student

"I had taken one year of Greek, so for me the purpose of this trip was really to reinforce the existing foundations in grammar. But unexpectedly, with all due credit to our professors, Calder Classics has given me so much more: it has given me the tools to be able to read Greek fluently. And I say "tools" instead of "ability" because no, nobody can immediately attain fluency in three weeks.  So thanks, teachers. You will both prove to be influential in my progress as a student and a classicist, and my words do no justice to the gratitude welling from the bottom of my heart. I love this program, and will definitely come back someday!"   Andre C., student

"It was with slight trepidation that I embarked on my study of Ancient Greek, for unlike my fellow students, I've never studied any ancient language before, not even Latin, but it didn't take long for me to realize that my fears were misplaced. Within the warm embrace of the team, I started from my alpha beta gammas and slowly moved up to face the many faces of the complex beast, also known as GRAMMAR. It was surprising to see how much progress we had made, from the illiterate 'this is all Greek to me' phase to the 'this is still Greek but I can translate everything I know about it' phase. ..One thing I really loved was how our activities and studies were scheduled intermittently  so that every day we had something to look forward to. Whether it was a shopping trip, a cooking class, a visit to a museum or even just an afternoon hanging out, everything was new and exciting and quite marvelous." Morgan Y., student

Photos from Previous Trips

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