Italy’s town of diaries: where ordinary people’s memoirs are salvaged and celebrated

Jun 30, 2022 183

BY: Edward Posnett

When I was in my early 20s, I tried to keep a diary of my experiences as a student and teacher in Bologna. There was much to write about: I was teaching in one of the city’s largest secondary schools, attending lectures delivered by professors who seemed as ancient as the faculty’s medieval buildings and I was learning, painfully, that a certain British shabbiness is not considered a mark of sophistication in Italy, but its very opposite. Yet the diary contained none of this.

It was, as the Italians say, uno sfogo, a vent, and, instead of bringing to life this fabulous city with its myriad characters, I detailed minor fluctuations in my mood and the messy breakdown of a short relationship. That, at least, is what I remember, for, on returning to the UK, I was so ashamed of the text that I burned it.

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