The Little Diary Museum was opened to add value to the immense legacy of the Diary Archive of Pieve Santo Stefano, the town near Arezzo that has gathered local memories since 1985: it currently houses more than 7,000 memoirs.
The first person to tell her story was Clelia Marchi, a peasant from Mantua who after a lifetime of labor and eight children, decided that the time had come to leave a written account of her life. Having nothing else to hand, she took a sheet and penned her autobiography on it. More than two meters wide, Clelia’s sheet is the prize exhibit in the Little Diary Museum in Palazzo Pretorio.
The museum consists of four rooms: the first holds an art installation that allows visitors to open cupboards and drawers and to listen, see and experience some of the most interesting accounts firsthand chosen from the diaries and letters housed in the archive.
This is a place where you can listen to excerpts from the diaries, watch the manuscripts come to life on digital screens and admire handwritten documents. Background murmuring of the protagonists’ words accompanies the installation; that “rustling of others” that Saverio Tutino, whom the museum is named for, heard come off the shelves which became increasingly full with diaries with the passing of time.
The second room is the Rabito Room, an autobiographical masterpiece written by a semi-illiterate roadman from Ragusa, which dazzles due to the density of narration and writing, carved on square pieces of papers by an Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter, which Rabito used to tell his story and that of the 1900s.
The museum ends with the room dedicated to Clelia Marchi’s story-lined sheet.