All of the archival remains of Sant’Elisabetta delle Convertite are in Florence, mostly in the Archivio di Stato. The convent was closed in 1808, and all of its documents archived, meaning that there is a relatively rich resource for historians. I am, therefore, spending a few months in Firenze working on these records.
I arrived on 5 January but things have not gone altogether smoothly. My laptop was damaged on the flight- the screen completely smashed. i didn’t discover this until the evening of my arrival, and almost everything was closed the following day for La Befana. Once I found a shop to take it to, I had to get a quote for the insurance first, then ask them to start the repair. As a result it took over two weeks to get it fixed. It felt like a very long fortnight. The temporary loss of my laptop was difficult to deal with on a number of levels. I could use my table and a bluetooth keyboard in the archives, but that’s not much use for looking at the texts later and doing any sort of manipulation of them. I also found myself rather disorganised without a proper computer. It also meant that keeping in touch with friends and family back home was harder. Skype on my tablet isn’t the best. Hopefully, this will all be remedied now that it is back in working order.
My faithful Kindle also decided to give up the ghost a week or so after I arrived. Fortunately I brought a paperback copy of the Decameron with me and I have been reading that. Otherwise, I’d have had nothing to read at night other than a Danielle Steel novel I found in a cupboard of my apartment. I am glad it didn’t come to that. Although Amazon kindly agreed to replace my Kindle, I am waiting until someone can bring it over with them rather than relying on the notorious Italian postal service. This means I have another month or so to wait. Thankfully, I am not reading the Decameron too quickly and should be able to drag it out until then.
To cap it all, I poured tea over my portable hard drive, though that seems to have come through mercifully unscathed.
So, not the smoothest start, but I’m getting there.