The Farnesina launched the project "Italians Abroad, Diaries Tell Tales", a selection of the most significant testimonies which form part of a fund designated as 'emigration' in the Fondazione Archivio Diaristico Nazionale of Pieve Santo Stefano, in the province of Arezzo. The "Italians Abroad, Diaries Tell Tales" project was made possible thanks to the support of the Directorate General for Italians Abroad and Migration Policies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
It is a collection of 200 out of the over one-thousand life stories contained in the fund. Each tale contributed with an average of five pages, which were selected out of the dozens or hundreds of pages that told those stories. Each page was digitalised from the original document, diary, memoire or letter and then transcribed, given a title and an introduction, located in time and geolocalized, indexed with key words relevant to the themes regarding the experiences of Italians living abroad from the 19th century to date.
Hence, every single page became a tale accounting for a total of 1,000 stories published when the www.idiariraccontano.org
website went online.
The stories of 'ordinary' Italians who lived abroad from the beginning of the 19th century to date are told in diaries, letters and memoires tell that the Italian National Diary Archive has been collecting ever since 1984. Readers from across the world can now have access to them by connecting to a digital platform. The criteria adopted for the selection of the stories to be published are based on to the historical interest of every personal life experience contained in the documentation. The project is not only concerned with presenting different points of view on major historical events, it is meant to follow the experiences that are common to every migration movement and which are at the core of the selection of the documentary collection, alongside travel stories or tales of temporary working experiences abroad.
The stories the website presents do not intend to represent all life experiences of Italians living abroad from the 19th century to date. Nevertheless, anyone browsing these pages will get the feel of an experience or a discovery. The documentation collected may be used for research work, read for pure pleasure, or used for educational purposes as a completion of a humanities approach to History or Social Sciences. It could also be an incentive to create new cultural or artistic products as it already happened in the past years thanks to similar initiatives which stemmed from the Diary Archive. The website has a section named 'Your Story' where any Italian expat may send his or her own story or those of his/her family members, thus contributing to expanding the platform collection.
The"Italians Abroad, Diaries Tell tales" project was inspired by the prototype "The Great War, Diaries Tell Stories" conceived in 2013 by Pier Vittorio Buffa, who acted as editing consultant on the current project with the cooperation of Laura Ferro for research work and the drafting of texts. The pictorial research and the organisation of the sources were carried out by Antonella Brandizzi, while Luigi Burro took care of the photographs of the original documents that are published on the website.