I need to reread Parsons’s next section before posting on that, as I’m not sure I have the measure of it (his book is evidently the distillation of a lot of thought over a long time, so it isn’t going to make for a quick read).
Meanwhile, we went yesterday to the Archivio di Stato in Siena (which does guided visits three times a morning). The interest there — apart from the great ranks of volumes of documents — is an exhibition of the Tavolette di Biccherna. These are painted wooden panels that were produced as covers for bundles of civic account books, starting in 1258 with the practice continuing to the eighteenth century. The earlier ones, in particular, are fascinating (particularly interesting to see secular art of the time). Very definitely worth a visit: we enjoyed it great deal. There were exactly two other people there when we went.