Inaugurated in 2013, the Piccolo museo del diario (Little Diary Museum) is located in the 16th-century Palazzo Pretorio in Pieve Santo Stefano, nicknamed the “City of the Diary”. It features a multisensory and interactive itinerary created to narrate, through digitised texts, the Archivio Diaristico Nazionale (National Diary Archive) founded in 1984 by journalist Saverio Tutino and all the autobiographical testimonies it preserves.
The Piccolo Museo del Diario, through an innovative itinerary, leads the visitor to discover the history of Italy from the unprecedented point of view of ordinary people. Thousands of autobiographical texts, epistolary letters, memoirs, diaries, freely donated by citizens and all available for consultation in the archive, turn from individual and personal stories into collective and universal ones.
The collection has grown over the years, thanks above all to the writings that came in with the “Premio Pieve – Saverio Tutino” dedicated to unpublished diaries, memoirs and epistolary letters. On the initiative of the municipality of Pieve Santo Stefano, the Fondazione Archivio Diaristico Nazionale (National Diary Archive Foundation) was also established.
Among the treasures that can be admired in the museum, to which a special room has been dedicated, is the “Lenzuolo di Clelia Marchi”, a trousseau sheet more than two metres wide where a Mantuan peasant woman decided to tell the story of her life in the fields and her great love for her late husband Anteo.
Another special place in the museum is the room dedicated to the autobiography “Terra Matta” (Crazy Land) by Vincenzo Rabito, a semi-literate Ragusa cantoniere who tells the story of his century, the twentieth century, through squared sheets carved from an Olivetti Lettera 22. It is a work between the Italian language and dialect, full of neologisms, that amazes for its wit and density of narration.
The Piccolo museo del diario, inspired by the volume “Il paese dei diari” (The country of diaries) by Mario Perrotta in 2009, was designed by Dotdotdot a multidisciplinary studio in Milan, which installed and programmed numerous electronic devices inside the four museum rooms, harmonising all the technologies necessary for the operation of multiple audio and video elements, sensors, microcontrollers, lights, projectors and computers.
The intense and profound voices of actors such as Marco Baliani, Andrea Biagiotti, Tommaso Bocconi, Matteo Caccia, Grazia Cappelletti, Diego Dalla Casa, Marco Paolini, Mario Perrotta, Paola Roscioli and Maya Sansa tell visitors some of the most beautiful stories from the archive.
Since its opening, the Small Diary Museum in Pieve Santo Stefano has received numerous awards. In 2014 it was listed by the Anmli as one of the six Italian museums with the most innovative experiences. In 2016 it was declared a museum of regional relevance by the Region of Tuscany and became part of the network of Musei della Valtiberina Toscana and the Associazione Nazionale Piccoli Musei. In 2020 it was included in the map of Icom Italia‘s Musei Letterari e di Musicisti (Literary and Musicians’ Museums) and in 2021 in the network of Civic Places.