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About Stefano

Stefano was born on 9 May 1978, in Naples. He grew up on the Isle of Capri, cultivating a love of beauty. His natural curiosity about the world drew him to study languages beyond his native Italian, and to great effect: English, French, Spanish and above all Japanese. He had also begun studying Russian and Arabic.

Stefano's origami tools

He loved everything Japanese: the culture, the history, the philosophy of life. He had taught himself to speak and write the language of the Land of the Rising Sun. The deep spirituality of the Orient led him to study origami, the art of paper-folding. He had become very accomplished, and used his fertile imagination to produce new and original forms. He studied graphology, calligraphy and drawing. He had also taught himself to play the guitar, and had started to learn to play the piano. His artistic side was rounded off by an innate aptitude for writing poetry.

What's the time where you are?
From a friend in Japan

His formal training was in the technical/commercial sector, but his eloquence, expressive skills and general knowledge were equal if not superior to those acquired by following more classical directions.

He started his professional life as porter at a number of major hotels on the Isle of Capri, such as the Quisisana and the Capri Palace, and later moved on to top hotels in Florence, Paris and Naples. His thirst for knowledge took him on many travels: Greece, Ireland, the UK, France and his beloved Japan, where he had many friends with whom he maintained a rich and extensive correspondence.

From a young age, he loved the process of discovery and understanding. He demonstrated exceptional sensitivity, always distancing himself from any taunts or threats directed at his more vulnerable schoolmates. The abuse of animals concerned him greatly, especially the massacre of seal pups. He attached little value to money, placing more importance on values and ideals that have become neglected in the age in which we live.

Marina Grande, Capri, 21 January 2011

On the day of his funeral, a huge rainbow appeared in the sky, rising not from the sea as usual, but from the house in Marina Grande where he lived with his family...Stefano's home.

Bon voyage, Stefano...beloved son and brother.

» See Stefano's origami

» Read Stefano's poetry

Stefano left a profound mark on everyone who knew him, across the world. His friends have been kind enough to send us their thoughts and reflections. Here are some of them. We will add more in due course.

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Cristina Stinga

It is rare to find this kind of enthusiasm in people, this urge to explore, this capacity to listen and to understand.

It is rare to find someone with such smiling eyes and such an infectious smile.

It is rare to find such an eloquent look in someone’s eyes, a look tells you stories, such energy and such a will to live.

It is rare, but not in Stefano’s case, as he encompassed all these things, which made him very special, but the most wonderful thing is that he had absolutely no idea that he was so unique.

We, on the other hand, always knew it but perhaps can only now understand it fully.

Thank you for giving us the privilege and the opportunity to have had you in our lives.

Toshie Tanaka

I first met Stefano in the spring of 2003. I will never forget that moment.

My work had brought me to Anacapri. At a restaurant one evening, Stefano addressed me in Japanese. He was at the table next to mine. He was a person who loved the Japanese language, and origami. His smile was sweet and captivating. We became friends, and I went to his house several times. Stefano loved "Vagabond", the manga comic, and he knew so many kanji. I was amazed. Stefano came to visit me twice in Japan.

I heard the terrible news about his sudden death last year. I still can't believe that this extraordinary young man should have been taken away from us so suddenly, and well before his time.

Stefano continues to live forever in our hearts. In the words of his father Gino, Stefano is now "creating origami in Heaven with the angels".

His Japanese friend, Toshie Tanaka

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Erri De Luca

I received the pages about your Stefano and was able to follow the intense steps of his journey. Applying himself both to work and to dedicated study, he showed the discipline required of a student of life, with a ready enthusiasm and a thirst for the profound.

I came to know an artistic temperament of the old kind, the kind that does not use shortcuts. He had much to say and to contribute, things he only had time to hint at. The word "waste" is a fitting one here, precisely because he did not waste the time allotted to him.

You have done the right thing with the album, the book, about him, with him.