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Sylvia Poggioli reflects on more than 40 years with NPR

Wanyu Zhang/NPR
Wanyu Zhang/NPR

“I’m Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.”

For more than four decades, public radio listeners heard that iconic sign-off after critical reporting about the Vatican, immigration in Europe, and so much more.

While Rome was her home base, Poggioli has reported from dozens of countries across the globe and won a Peabody award for her coverage of the Bosnian war. She somehow found time for more lighthearted stories, bringing listeners to Gorgona where wine is made at a penal colony, and detailing her experience getting an Italian driver’s license.

Poggioli was NPR’s longest-serving foreign correspondent when she decided to retire earlier this year after 41 years with the network. She reflected on her journey in aletter to NPR back in March.

An excerpt:

“It’s been a wild ride – from endemic Italian political chaos (and food, art and movies) and three popes (and scandals) at the Vatican, to the fall of Communism in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, and more than a decade covering disinformation, wars and war crimes in the Balkans. And in between, tracking the impact of immigration throughout a mostly unwelcoming Europe, and traveling across the globe, from Cuba to Myanmar to Iraq with Pope Francis.”

We speak with Poggioli about some of her favorite stories, the challenges she’s faced as an international correspondent, and what the next chapter in her life entails.


Sylvia Poggioli with Pope Francis. Courtesy of Sylvia Poggioli

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Chris Remington