Waldensian Review No. 122 Summer 2013 - Page 12

to pursue virtue and knowledge. Many have questioned if Levi really had been overwhelmed at Auschwitz by Dante: the counterpoint of classic beauty in one of the world’s vilest places suggests the artifice of afterthought. From the moment Levi completed ‘The Canto of Ulysses’, he was set to become one of the most Classically-influenced writers in post-war Italy. Years later, he told a journalist that, if he had to rescue two Italian writers from a library fire, they would be ‘Dante and Manzoni’. Only a Classical student with an enduring humanist education could have said as much. TO BE CONTINUED At the beginning of last summer, a young friend, a student from Collegio Valdese in Torre Pellice, told me that he had a place to stay in London for a couple of months: could I help him in finding where to do some voluntary work? I asked our Patron, and this is what followed: Here I am, on my second placement at Wesley’s Chapel. Entering the gates of the front yard of the chapel, dominated by the comforting statue of the founder of Methodism, is always a great pleasure, and so is getting into the main building, where lots of colourful flags are hanging from the gallery to remind you of the variety of identities composing the community. Wesley’s famous sentence, ‘The world is my parish’, seems to be always present here, as a muffled echo, and you can soon understand how this parish actually represents the whole world, gathering together people from everywhere. Last summer I had already had the great opportunity to be on a placement at Wesley’s Chapel and it was definitely one of the greatest social and cultural experiences of my life. I helped taking calls, answering emails, sorting mail and achieving all the different little tasks that characterise all offices. I also gave a hand to the stewards reordering books in the library of the museum. And it was here, during the two months spent helping in the office of the museum of this beautiful church, that I really began to discover British culture. All the wondrous people with whom I was working made me appreciate it in all its different aspects and sides. So this year, when the chance to repeat this great experience and meet all my friends of last year came up, I took it immediately with both hands. Of course, coming to London is wonderful and I always make the most of the opportunity, enjoying its great cultural riches which seem to have no limit. I can, for example, cultivate my interest in Shakespeare as a groundling in the Globe, relishing the magical atmosphere which prevails there. The Proms are another event which I make sure not to miss and, standing always in my favourite part of the arena, I was literally overjoyed when, this year, I found the same people whom I had met last summer. The endless number of museums, art galleries and exhibitions is then more than enough to satisfy my thirst for art. 10