The Little Museum of Diary (Piccolo museo del diario)

Piazza Plinio Pellegrini 1, Pieve Santo Stefano
Toscana, Italy
Phone: +39 (0)575797730
closed on: Open daily except Saturday and Sunday morning
Museum Type: History / City

Conserving and narrating memory | the Little Museum of Diary (Piccolo museo del diario)

There is a place where you can learn history without reading it in a book: that history we all had to study, perhaps reluctantly, in schoolbooks, in the Little Museum of Diary (Italian: Piccolo museo del diario) is narrated through the real stories and lives of ordinary people, instead.

The museum features a permanent exhibition designed to present over 7000 stories, written, collected, and conserved since 1984 in the National Diary Archive.

The National Archive of Diary (Italian: Archivio Diaristico Nazionale) was founded by journalist and writer Saverio Tutino (1923-2011) in the village of Pieve Santo Stefano, in the province of Arezzo, central Italy. In 1944, after driving away its inhabitants, the village was almost completely razed to the ground by the Nazi troops, only the church and the town hall survived. Therefore the local community, after coming back from the forced exile at the end of World War Two, found that its homes, along with a relevant part of its memory, no longer existed.


One of the permanent exhibition rooms of the museum, photo courtesy of




The portable installation “The Alphabet of Memory”, photos courtesy

The archive, inspired by the aim to reinstate a part of that lost heritage, has been expanded over time to celebrate the role and the historic value of those small archives of memory conserved in diaries, romantic messages, autobiographical accounts, and personal letters written by common people across all Italy.

The permanent exhibition of the Little Museum of Diary encompasses an array of “talking rooms” conceived to take the public into the narration; multisensory spaces where the physical presence of artifacts – drawers, tables, everyday objects – amplifies the power of words and combines with voices, sounds, and light.

Since 2013, the permanent exhibition, composed of eye-catching installations designed by the Italian design office, has been constantly evolved and enlarged – the last space, entitled Room of the Bed Sheet, was opened to the public in September 2016 – enriching a narration based on diaries, letters, and autobiographic memories of common people leaving a trace of their lives.


“The Room of the Bed Sheet”, photo courtesy of



“Terra Matta” installation “, photos courtesy of

The Others whisper, the museum’s archive room, is an ensemble of memories, confessions, and secrets concealed in shelves and drawers, ready to be unveiled. The public undergoes a visual and aural immersive experience because the diaries murmur and gently talk to one another, thus generating intertwined fluxes of memories of present and absent persons.





“The Others Whisper” installation, photos courtesy of

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