On June 22, Villa il Salviatino opened its gates to Stanford Alumni who were in town celebrating their 50th year of a study center in Florence. Approximately 400 people attended the official reunion, and about 150 of those came to the reception at Il Salviatino, by far the largest group to attend any of the optional activities planned for the celebration. Of course, most of the crowd attending the reception had lived at il Salviatino and were curious to see their former living and study quarters.
The first official symposium of the reunion was held in the Salone dei Cinquecento at the Palazzo Vecchio with a greeting from Florence’s mayor, Matteo Renzi, a key-note address by former university president, Gerhard Casper, and a panel discussion among former students at Stanford-in-Italy.
Among a number of Stanford Alumni who stayed at il Salviatino were former Ambassador Ron Spogli and attorney Susan Adamson. Both were part of the first day’s panel discussion at the Palazzo Vecchio.
Thanks to the generous invitation by Michael Brod, president of Club Tornabuoni, a select group of Stanford Alumni attendees were treated to a cocktail party and performance of operatic arias in the very room of the Palazzo Tornabuoni in Florence where the world’s first opera was written and performed in 1598. The acoustics were fantastic, the singing superb, and all of us in attendance experienced goose-bumps.
The reception at il Salviatino on the evening of June 22, was a memory-filled event for most of those in attendance. Wine was served on the villa’s terrace along with Chef Sbaragli’s incomparable hors d’oeuvres, and everyone was able to enjoy tours of the villa.
The experience led many to recall their lives at il Salviatino. I had a long conversation with former president of Stanford, Gerhard Casper, who relaxed at the villa all afternoon, and the trips down memory lane with Professors David Kennedy and Philip Zimbardo gave life to old photos of the villa, and some fun guessing which rooms had been occupied by Professor Kennedy – even which closet had been the “room” of his daughter Bess when she was 4 or 5 years old.
Professor Kennedy was also a member of the group that hung the BEAT CAL banner from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and John Chladek’s group “borrowed” an Olympic banner and an Austrian flag from the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck to adorn the front of il Salviatino.
Reunions always conjure up dormant feelings, and among the Stanford Alumni, everyone who saw the Villa il Salviatino was awe-struck. Club Salviatino was delighted to have participated in reigniting so many fond memories for so many people, and hopes that everyone feels welcome to return here again anytime.