28 Aug

50 years ago yesterday, over 200 very curious and most adventurous students from across the U.S. landed in Rome for the beginning of a year like no other – destination:

Loyola’s Rome Center was started in 1962. At that time, it was the largest American study program offered by a U.S. university in Europe enrolling Loyola students as well as students from 75 other U.S. colleges and universities, of which I was one.

While it is hard to imagine we arrived 50 years ago, it is so easy to remember the most incredible year of our lives. Quickly becoming a family of “campers”,  we learned, laughed, loved and lived together. Oh how we lived!

Most of us arrived at age 20, having never been to a foreign country, nor away from home for more than a semester. There was no internet, no wifi, no cell phones, no pc’s, etc. But we adapted quickly. What we did have was one public payphone in the hall, mail slots, a beautiful campus, an attentive staff, engaged professors, and most of all, each other.

Yes, we actually did attend class with some very excellent professors, but so very much of what we remember from that year comes from outside the classroom, as they said it would.

We quickly learned how to get around in Italy…

and explore some of her greatest treasures.

We learned to navigate by train, and expect nothing to happen as scheduled.

On holidays, we even had extra time to explore far away destinations.

We learned of the unspeakable horrors of war…

and saw monuments dedicated to victory.

We rushed to the Vatican on 5/22/72 in the hope that the Pieta had not suffered grave damage at the hand of a madman. 

When not studying or traveling, we also trained well and competed!

We learned that every kid in Italy plays soccer,

and that some of then best “food” can be bought at the market.

At Christmastime, we sponsored a party for children from a local orphanage, doing much more for us than they could imagine.

At the end of our year together, we published a wonderful yearbook and I was delighted to be one of the photographers. All of the above photos are from that book, so kudos to the following people:


Finally, 10 years ago, Loyola Rome celebrated its 50th anniversary in Chicago and all classes were invited to attend. It was our group’s 40th anniversary, and as you can see, friendships are still going strong.

To the family of “71-72 campers”,  indeed we did learn, laugh, love and live together. Oh how we lived! 


26 Responses to “HAPPY 50th CAMPERS!”

  1. Sandy Holswade August 28, 2021 at 11:07 AM #

    Judy – that is so interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Magda August 28, 2021 at 11:19 AM #

      What a wonderful celebration. You had the right connection to Italy, Layola, Chicago. Wonderful memories the pictures are showing your talent in photography.

      Love, Magda

      Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 29, 2021 at 2:34 AM #

      Thanks Sandy!


  2. jknotts7 August 28, 2021 at 11:45 AM #

    So wonderful! Thanks!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Donna August 28, 2021 at 12:27 PM #

    What wonderful memories. Seeing Italy through the eyes of a 20 year old and then able to continue as years go on. Lucky you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rudy Chiarandini August 28, 2021 at 12:43 PM #

    Hey Judy Great Blog and photos. Great memories. Well done. Have to tell you we have decided to skip our trip to Cortona this year. At our age I hope we are healthy enough to travel to Italia in the future and that this COVID has truly settled down. Hello to Len Rudy

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 29, 2021 at 2:37 AM #

      Thanks Rudy. Truly great memories. As for your trip, I’ll email you and S.


  5. Maureen (Mack) Lawler August 28, 2021 at 1:20 PM #

    This is wonderful! What a great depiction of a very special time in your life! 🇻🇦💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 29, 2021 at 2:38 AM #

      Thanks, It truly was an amazing year that we all remember so well!


  6. Kevin McLaughlin August 28, 2021 at 1:43 PM #

    I can’t imagine another group like ours and the wonderful experiences we had together in that magical setting. I hope this finds everyone well and, to respond to Sally, I was told on the Campus over a year ago that the classes are
    No longer as cohesive as ours because students are only there for about three months and don’t make the friendships. God bless, Kev

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Julia Spina-Kilar August 28, 2021 at 1:49 PM #

    What wonderful photos! You were a photojournalist then and you are still one now! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sandra August 28, 2021 at 9:42 PM #

    Ho wonderful Judy and how fortunate were you to have that experience. A year in Rome! We’re you Judy Capraro? I scanned the staff list, thought this must have been you! Thanks for sharing, I loved it. PS. We’ve decided to forego Cortona again in October. 😥 Our numbers are climbing again. So sad. Sandy

    Sent from my iPad



  9. carol bohmer August 29, 2021 at 1:26 AM #

    This is really great. You are a terrific blogger.

    See you on Tuesday.

    xx Carol

    On Sat, Aug 28, 2021 at 11:56 AM Blogging In Italy wrote:

    > blogginginitaly posted: ” 50 years ago yesterday, over 200 very curious > and most adventurous students from across the U.S. landed in Rome for the > beginning of a year like no other – destination: Loyola’s Rome Center was > started in 1962. At that time, it was the ” >


  10. Deb August 29, 2021 at 8:45 AM #

    What incredible memories! You were so easy to pick out of your soccer lineup!

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 29, 2021 at 8:56 AM #

      Thanks Deb, (because short ones are in front, haha ??) So nice to hear from you as you guys seem to have disappeared. Let’s try to catch up in the fall. Ciao!


  11. jeanfromcalifornia August 30, 2021 at 1:29 PM #

    This was great! And there you are at the reunion with your million-dollar smile.:)
    Several years ago I went to Toronto for a reunuion to close the high school I went to.
    60 years before I had watched it being built!
    After that I did 4 years of college and after graduating at 20 married my boyfriend. If I had taken your lead I would have had more fun and saved myself a divorce lawyer – Lol!
    Luv to Len.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Royce Larsen August 30, 2021 at 7:09 PM #

    Thank you for the chance to conjure some personal nostalgia. Even then you could capture a Kodak moment! Thank you.


    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 31, 2021 at 12:04 PM #

      Thanks and yes, I’m sure it brought back many memories of your travels!


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