Bring your diary to Pieve Santo Stefano!

[Photo Credits: © Gianni Fontana, The Sheet's Room - National Diary Archive]
[Photo Credits: © Gianni Fontana, The Sheet's Room - National Diary Archive]
One night Clelia Marchi couldn’t sleep. She kept thinking about Anteo, her dead husband. She wanted to write to him and about him. She needed to write. But she couldn’t find a single piece of paper in the house. Then she opened the closet and saw an old bed sheet: “After all, I won’t need my marriage bed sheets anymore, I will use them to write.” So, she placed a picture of her beloved husband on the white fabric. And she began to write. And she never stopped. Night after night, Clelia handwrote the story of her life: from her small hometown village in Northern Italy to the hard days as a peasant, from the encounter with Anteo at the age of fourteen to her marriage. And as she wrote, her husband was in every word, in every fold. That sheet that had once enveloped them, was now holding her dreams, thoughts and words. And then one day she took the bus from Arezzo to Pieve Santo Stefano, the sheet under her arm. It was the winter of 1986. In 1984 this small village in the Tuscan Appennines had opened something never seen before: a National Diary Archive. Today Clelia’s diary is the masterpiece of the Archive and, with over 7000 diaries collected over the years, Pieve Santo Stefano has become the “City of Diaries”. premio pieve The “Archivio Diaristico Nazionale” Foundation keeps diaries, memoirs, journals, autobiographies and letters. It is a museum of memories: the words of a soldier to his love, a desperate Jewish man writing about the Fascist racial laws in Italy, the memoirs of an architect who was a victim of a terrorist attack in the seventies, a farmer from Naples remembering his years in a Siberian prison, the diary of a drug addict, letters written by Italian immigrants… premio pieve The Little Museum of the Diary (Piccolo Museo del Diario) was born to show and tell the National Diary Archive, and the autobiographical testimonies that it contains, in an innovative and engaging manner. Today the museum is articulated through three rooms (with new rooms already in the project); inside the first two, which are accessible from the hall of the sixteenth-century Praetorian Palace, there is an art installation - twenty drawers set in a wooden wall - that will allow visitors to hear, see and touch some of the most fascinating stories chosen from among the seven thousand diaries of the Archive.
[Photo Credits: dotdotdot.it]
[Photo Credits: dotdotdot.it]
The diaries of Pieve are also undergoing a huge and complex digitization project that will make them available online. PREMIO PIEVE award The National Diary Archive of Pieve Santo Stefano is also an active cultural association. Every year, at the beginning of September, they organize a competition - Premio Pieve – and awards a prize to a new diary, chosen after an intense selection. In 2014, the 30th edition of "Premio Pieve Saverio Tutino," which will be held from September 18 to 21 (#premiopieve), will be focused on the evolution of the concept of the Archive of Diaries during the past years, an evolution that has transformed it into a "memory bank" of the individual and collective identity of the Italians. INFO Archivio Diaristico Nazionale Monday to Friday, 8.30am-1pm and 3-6pm (we recommend calling and booking before going, especially during the weeks right before the Premio Pieve) Piccolo Museo del Diario Piazza Plinio Pellegrini 1 (to visit the museum during the week, ask the headquarters of the Archive, Piazza A. Fanfani 14) Monday to Friday, 9am-1pm and 3.30-6pm Saturday and Sudsay, 3-6pm Free entrance