Today, I took the train to Fiesole, where Casalini, our distributor for Italian language books, is located. Fiesole is considered a part of Florence, although the soft light, thick trees and quietude give the impression that you are deep in the country. The Etruscans lived here until their settlements were overrun by the Romans. The Etruscan walls still stand as do a Roman amphitheater and a very austere Franciscan monastery–all one on top of one another, each a successive layer of history. Casalini has quite a large building that houses the offices and warehouse of the company. It is a much larger operation than I had originally thought and employs close to 40 people.
Below are some of the books we brought back. All of them appear to be in Worldcat but held by a variety of libraries. From looking at the owning libraries the only one that seemed to be seriously collecting these books is the National Library of Slovenia.
The majority of the books are either regional histories or memoirs. Patricia and I both agreed that these are probably among the last autobiographies to be written about World War II. These kinds of autobiographies are often critical to our understanding of a period because they are focused on a private rather than public presentation of history. Some associations are very well organized, whereas others have not done a full inventory of their materials. Barbara Casalini and I also talked about having library school students as part of their practicum doing some of the initial work on doing an inventory of these small libraries and warehouses as a way of locating and helping to preserve these materials.
One of the most interesting aspects of this trip is that the itinerary is fluid. A conversation leads to a personal contact or the suggestion for a new place to visit. As luck would have it, I was able to speak this afternoon to Franco Luxardo, who is providing me with the “academic” contact information that is missing. He has sent me the bibliography for the Società Dalmata di Storia Patria-Venezia, and written the publishers of Bibliografia Centro di Ricerche Storiche-Rovigno/Rovinj, Bibliografia Societa Dalmata di Storia Patria – Roma, and Bibliography of the Società Dalmata di Storia Patria-Venice.
Next is Venice.