November 28, 2011
By Will Hanley, assistant professor, Florida State University
Editor’s Note: See also our other recent post from the Archives Wiki, featuring the UK Web Archive.
Last summer I had the good fortune to return to the Archivio Storico del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (Historical Archive of the Italian Foreign Ministry) in Rome. The reading room is open only five hours a day—not such a bad thing, given the city’s other charms. After my first visit in 2008, I posted a description of the archives on Archives Wiki, in which I mentioned an attractive strip of restaurants nearby, at the top of Ponte Milvio. Five hours is a long time to keep your nose to the grindstone without a coffee, and I could hear the call of Mondi as I sat with my boxes. I kept at it, but the coffee from the vending machine in the hall was a pale substitute.
On my most recent visit, I had the good fortune to meet Bruce Strang, a historian of 20th-century Italy and an old hand at the ASMAE. He was kind enough to bring me to a hidden coffee bar, deep inside the Foreign Ministry building, with a full slate of food and drink probably not meant for the benefit of mere historians. I updated the Archives Wiki entry to reflect this significant advance of knowledge in the field.
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