|Photograph by Danilo Scarpati. Produced by Marella Caracciolo Chia|
“IN THE NAME OF GOD and of the Virgin Mary and all the Saints of Paradise,” the story begins, “this book belongs to Matteo di Nicholò Chorsini, and in it I, the said Matteo, will write down every thing of mine and other facts about me and my land and houses and other goods of mine.”Matteo di Nicholò Corsini, a Florentine cloth trader, started keeping meticulous records in 1362 to keep track of his business transactions. Subsequent generations kept up the tradition of writing down everything about themselves and preserving all they wrote and over the past six centuries the records have grown to a staggering 4,000 feet of volumes. The Corsini family archives are housed at the Villa le Corti in Tuscany. Parts of their villa are now open to visitors.