Stefano and myself are approximately of the same age, and already long ago, when for many years I was teaching a spring semester course in Naples, it was Venice, where Stefano spent such a long time, that often came up in discussions on Buddhist studies. It was in Naples that I discovered, with the late prof. Forte, a way of dealing with texts, which, in my head, I named Italian. I called it ‘giallo’, a way to do research as if it were a detective story. And I still admire it. I recognize this way of working also in Stefano’s work: pointed questions, looked into from all kinds of angles, while paying attention to the smallest details, contextualized in a historical and material environment, based on an impressive linguistic background, and with an extraordinary capacity to remain flexible. The capacity also to be humble, and at the same time proud of what one has achieved. Sharing in a most generous way, but rightfully stubborn, even on what others would have considered to be a detail. But details, Stefano might add, are potential doors to much more to discover. Many people, (PhD) students will forever remember his generosity.
Stefano was happy to move to Oxford, he loved the college life, he was proud of it, it was his habitat. He loved to watch and enjoy it, savoring his favorite tobacco. Oxford is closer to Ghent than Venice is, and so more contact became possible. I started to learn more about Stefano himself: Stefano was indeed deeply engaged in research, but he was also a family man and he loved to discuss, with a most open view on the world. It is no surprise that he was very frustrated with brexit which he considered to be of an extreme level of stupidity and distance. He was attached to Oxford, to Italy, to intellectual Europe, to good life, to his family, to his friends, to his professor life. He will be deeply missed.
Ann Heirman (Universiteit Gent)