Museo Del Diario -The Museum of Diaries

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Pieve Santo Stefano to Sansepolcro

We had Breakfast at 7:00 this morning, Yay for early gathering! It was still a late start in our walking though as we headed out to the museum afterwards:

“Pieve Santo Stefano sits in the upper Tiber river valley at the foot of the mountains, around Santuario della Laverna. When the Nazis destroyed Pieve Santo Stefano in August, 1944, in their northerly retreat from the Allied forces, they left the town without its former charming medieval character. Today it is known as the ‘city of the diary’ for the archive of over 10,000 journals and diaries gathered by journalist Severio to Tutino as a sort of memorial to the daily lives of ordinary people.” (Trekking The Way of St Francis)

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!! What an awesome museum and way to spend the morning!! I was not too thrilled about extending the morning to spend time in a museum – yet a perfect example in which I should have reserve judgment! This discovery ranks in the top five of the coolest things I’ve done in my life!!! A journalist had an idea to preserve peoples’ diaries for safekeeping, and it took considerable years, yet the idea grew and ultimately resulted in the execution of what is now this museum of so many journals and diaries!! It’s very contemporary in how they house them, and our guide narrated a handful of stories for us that were very moving. For years now they have had an annual competition whereby the winner has their journal/diary turned into a published book!! What an amazing concept, and way to preserve important stories of people‘s lives. Particularly since this town was destroyed during World War II and so many poignant stories come from that, other significant life changing events as well as every day stories. Awesome, awesome, awesome!

Diary on a bed sheet!

Our plan was to take the van to the Via Maggio Pass (Passo via Maggio) and walk mostly downhill in forest to Sansepolcro, stopping along the way at Montecasale, one of the oldest Saint Francis sites, where the Saint converted three thieves. We didn’t get onto the walking road until 11:30, so we cut the first part short and ended up only walking just over 5 miles to the eighth century Hermitage to see this beautifully restored site that was given to Saint Francis in 1216 and was an overnight stay for Saint Anthony of Padua.

We walked about another mile before we stopped at a lovely picnic area to have our lunch. And we finally saw some cows!! Their bells sounded so close though sadly they were way over on a distant hill.

And then it was just a bit beyond until we came to our bed-and-breakfast lodgings. I dropped my bags and I had some time to explore the historic corridor of Sansepolcro before meeting up with the group again at 5:45 for a special tour of the museum and cathedral – Sandy and Giovanni have all the connections!!

We saw many great works of art, by a local artist who was quite good, but ended up not being able to compete with Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Dante. He did, however, create a work of art that is quite famous about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it ended up saving this city from being bombed by the Nazis. The commanding officer in charge of that decision had studied this Gothic/Renaissance style of the artist in school, and learning of the painting decided to spare the city!

We had an amazing dinner that had a lot of pasta, and several sauces – and it was very satisfying for us. And Oh! It was closed during my after trek trip, but I found a vegetable store that I slipped into before dinner and purchased a carrot, a red pepper, a little head of lettuce, and some tomatoes! I’m so excited to have some vegetables! We have had a small salad most times at dinner, but it’s mostly lettuce…

“ The ancient name of Sansepolcro was ‘Borgo of the Holy Sepulcher’ after its ninth-century monastery dedicated to the temple of Christ. The town has long been an economic hub for the upper Tiber Valley and to this day it’s medieval center is filled with shops and restaurants. The town’s Palazzo della Residenza contains one of the great frescoes of the Renaissance, “Resurrection” by Piero della Francesca, painted in the 1460s.”(“Trekking the way of Saint Francis”)

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