Calder Classics

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Tuscany: July 30-August 8, 2020

A unique summer experience in a Tuscan villa for advanced students of Greek and/or Latin. Designed for high school and college scholars to heighten their expertise in reading classical texts in-depth. Here, in a place where Greek and Roman culture fuse, we make the Classics come alive through an interplay of comparative literature, art, archaeology and travel.

Journeys to the Underworld: Aeneid 6 and Odyssey 11

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This course is designed for dedicated intermediate to advanced students in either Greek or Latin (rising high school juniors and seniors, recent grads/gap year students). Housed in a stunning villa in Tuscany, and surrounded by the Etruscan countryside where Greek and Roman remnants abound, we will read ancient texts that explore underworld narratives and prophecies: Latin students read Aeneid 6 — Aeneas’ famous meeting with the Sybil of Cumae and his journey to the underworld; Greek students read Odyssey 11, Odysseus’ νέκυια to hear the prophecy of Tiresias. Additional related texts are read in each group. The primary goal of this course is to advance students’ reading speed and comprehension of Latin or Greek vocabulary and syntax as well as to engage in discussions of the parallel texts. We will investigate how Vergil appropriates Homer’s underworld, and how we understand Homer’s underworld, mediated through Vergil’s text. In order to facilitate further discussion and understanding of the ancient world, students of Latin read Odyssey 11 in English and students of Greek read Aeneid 6 in English.

The starting date of this course is coordinated to permit students to join after the advanced Reading Latin + Art History session in Florence or the Reading Latin + Ancient History course in Rome, both of which end on July 30.

Dive into “The Tuscan Classroom”


Our study of prophecies and the underworld are beautifully visualized in the “canvas” of Tuscany where we have the opportunity to see local treasures such as the Duomo at Siena with its carvings of the Sibylline prophets, along with Etruscan sites in Arezzo, Cortona and Chiusi that exhibit art featuring the same stories and characters that appear in the underworld narratives we are reading. Through our visits to see ancient archaeological sites as well as the magnificent artwork of local Renaissance masters, students enjoy the opportunity to fuse their readings with visual representations.

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


Jeff Ulrich

Jeff Ulrich

Cindy Calder

Cindy Calder



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We have use of a spectacular hilltop villa in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. The villa has Roman origins, and has been refurbished by keeping its beautiful “pietra serena” façades untouched.  Located just 800 meters away from the village of Palazzuolo, it overlooks its own Chianti vineyard, and is surrounded by a lovely garden and ancient forest. The villa accommodates up to 14 people and offers an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, spa facilities, air conditioning, and satellite TV.

Dates & Fees


July 30 - August 8,  2020

The $4000 tuition includes accommodations, transportation within Italy, museum entries, instruction and course materials (certain additional books may need to be purchased). Breakfast and dinner and most lunches are included. Depending on our daily schedules, students are on their own for some lunch breaks.  Students are responsible for the cost of their 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 ONLY for those students who choose to travel with our chaperones. Students traveling on their own must make their own connections to the villa.

Calder Classics Testimonials

"The Tuscany trip was such an enjoyable and enriching opportunity to study classical texts and visit ancient sites! Seeing characters from the [Aeneid] poem represented on the walls of Etruscan tombs was invigorating and helped me understand what the Romans or Etruscans thought of the underworld. But my favorite parts of the trip were definitely all the moments at the table reading Latin; although I had read parts of the Aeneid at school, I had never had the chance to fully immerse myself in the text and consider its broader implications. The comparison discussions led by Jeff were also thought-provoking and encouraged me to approach texts with a critical angle and come up with my own interpretations. It was infinitely rewarding to be at a program fully dedicated to classical studies, surrounded by passionate teachers and peers. I'll definitely be carrying the memories and lessons from this trip with me for a long time!" Erin C., student

“Translating the Aeneid Book 6, Eclogue 4 and other esteemed texts, while visiting historic sites and towns and examining artistic masterpieces on the Tuscany Program, has entirely changed my approach to Latin studies and miraculously animated a dead language.” Maude G., student

Calder Classics was not just your typical high school summer program. On this trip, not only did my Latin improve immensely but we were immersed in a new culture. We had the chance to visit Etruscan tombs, talk to real life Italians and try new foods such as cinghiale (wild boar). It was especially interesting to see Charon depicted on the tomb walls whom we had just read about in the Aeneid. We got through a lot of lines everyday in Latin and English. Cindy was very helpful and I now feel a lot more confident reading Vergil on my own. This was definitely the highlight of my summer and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a unique and enriching experience! Lyris X., student

“The Greek summer program [in Tuscany] with Calder Classics was an incredible combination of studying and sight seeing. Having personally never been to Europe before this program, to see the legacies and reception of the Roman, Greek and Etruscan cultures firsthand in both the countryside and cities of Italy breathed an illuminating force upon the texts we were translating and discussing daily. In this way, the ancient words on the pages of our books came to life for me and have now left a lasting impression to further inspire me towards a career in the field of Classics.” Eric S., student

“The Calder Classics trip to Tuscany was a wonderful balance of academic instruction, cultural immersion, and social activities. It created a space where I was able to see the beauty of the countryside and various small towns while learning about the legacy and connections of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan traditions. This, of course, heightened my experience of reading the Aeneid and enabled to me to dig into the text in a very special way. Because of this, the program has left a very strong impression and inspired me to continue with my studies of Classics in college.” Sonnet C., student

“Tuscany: Journeys to the Underworld was such a wonderful and interdisciplinary course. The small class size and devotion of our instructor, Jeff Ulrich, kept the class fast-paced and exciting. I especially appreciated how the program wove together the Etruscan manifestation of the underworld with that of Greek and Roman counterparts, highlighting cultural interchanges often ignored by the classical community.” Aulden F., student

I would highly recommend any Calder Classic trip for motivated students who wish to have an immersive and unique educational experience!” Maude G., 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

"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, Latin and Greek 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. 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 wasn’t until the Calder Classics Latin Program … 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

Photos From Previous Trips

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