All posts tagged “Italy”

Notes on the first Books Printed in Italy

In my recent article on The First Book Printed in Italy, I introduce the first books printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz in the Subiaco monastery complex in the Sabine hills to the west of Rome from 1465. On Twitter, in a great deal more than 140 characters, I received this enthusiastic barrage of Tweets: I […]

Sponsored by Hoefler & Co.

Notes on the first Books Printed in Italy


I Love Typography

Escape to Eremito, a Tranquil Retreat in Umbria, Italy: A remote escape for digital detox with solo lodging and no TV or WiFi

Escape to Eremito, a Tranquil Retreat in Umbria, Italy

In what seems like the fourth consecutive month of winter here in New York, cabin fever is rife in those glued to their computers on a daily basis. To keep spirits up until spring offers its sympathy, we found inspiration in dreaming of simple escapes……

Continue Reading…


Cool Hunting

WeberHodelFeder Shoes: Designed in Antwerp by a forward-thinking trio of footwear geeks and made in Italy with the utmost care

WeberHodelFeder Shoes

While duos are aplenty in the creative fields, a strong design trio is definitely cause to pull the car over and further investigate. WeberHodelFeder (WHF) might sound like it should be followed by loud “Gesundheit!” but a glance at the label’s high……

Continue Reading…


Cool Hunting

Studio Visit: Paula Cademartori: Inside the Brazilian designer’s new Milan headquarters, where Made in Italy is a mark of pride

Studio Visit: Paula Cademartori

Constantly surrounded by architectural and natural beauty alike, Italians sometimes need someone from abroad to remind them of their exceptional surroundings. This may happen when friends and family visit or when some talented creative mind falls……

Continue Reading…


Cool Hunting

Nashville-Designed Peter Nappi Footwear and Accessories: From a studio and showroom in Tennessee to a production facility in Italy, stylish fashion for men and women

Nashville-Designed Peter Nappi Footwear and Accessories

In 2011, designer Philip Nappi and co-founder Dana Nappi sought to restore a century-old tradition of shoemaking that grandfather Peter Nappi brought to the US from Italy over 100 years before. With that, the brand Peter Nappi was born and the dedicated……

Continue Reading…


Cool Hunting

Venice in a Bottle: An unusual gallery space and shop in Italy offering a modernized version of the humble souvenir

Venice in a Bottle


Venice, Italy is a truly iconic city and, even though it’s a multi-faceted place, it’s oftentimes portrayed as a little stereotyped or clichéd—all gondolas and glass. In an effort to show the city’s ever-evolving identity and culture, a group of talented young art…

Continue Reading…


Cool Hunting

The Signs of Italy: Grafica della Strada: Louise Fili’s decades-strong obsession with the country’s diverse typography compiled in a fascinating photo book

The Signs of Italy: Grafica della Strada


It’s something of a rarity for a designer with such a storied career as NYC-based Louise Fili to trace the foundations of her career back to one single memory. The 2014 AIGA Medal-winner and self-described Italophile’s career in book design and food packaging…

Continue Reading…


Cool Hunting

The first book printed in Italy

The First Book Printed in Italy

During my research for an upcoming book* on the life and work of German Renaissance typographer Erhard Ratdolt, I spent quite some time looking at the introduction of printing to Italy (Ratdolt worked in Venice from 1476 to 1486, thereafter returning to his native Augsburg). The first printers in Italy were, unsurprisingly, from Germany, and they likely were associated with Gutenberg, Fust and Schoeffer. I won’t go into the details about the introduction of printing to Italy. Suffice to say, by 1465 Sweynheym and Pannartz had arrived at the Benedictine monastery of Subiaco, about 60 km east of Rome. The same year they printed a Latin Grammar (a schoolbook that had been incredibly popular throughout the Middle Ages) by the fourth-century tutor of Jerome, the Roman Grammarian Aelius Donatus, of which, sadly, no copy has survived.

Some time before the end of September 1465**, they printed Cicero’s De oratore, the first extant book printed on Italian soil. Lastly, before moving their press to Rome, they printed their first dated book (29 October, 1465), Opera by the third-century author, Lactantius.

The page below is from their De oratore of 1465:

cicdero-1465

Photo credit: University of Barcelona. [For a larger version of the same type (but used in the Lactantius).]

This is the first Roman type. More accurately it is a semi-Roman or semi-Gothic, the letterforms modeled on contemporary Italian bookhands. The capitals are clearly roman; the N is unusual in that its diagonal stroke meets the right stem quite high — like I have seen in some Rustic capitals in later Medieval manuscript books (though Rustic capitals are, of course, more condensed). The G looks almost like a sans serif and has a tiny aperture. In the lowercase there are more than traces of the uncial letter, especially in the form of the h with its toes turned in. The lowercase still retains some of the angularity and lateral compression of the Gothic letter. Though the type is quite dark (and has low contrast), it is tightly spaced and rather condensed, but appears much lighter than a page of Gothic type owing to the relatively long descenders, creating more interlinear white space. Relatively few contractions and ligatures — a t + i ligature and a nice disconnected c + t ligature. The squat ampersand is quite beautiful too.

I think it’s quite incredible that this book and its type has survived, and that just about all of the type we read today owes a debt to prototypographers like Sweynheym and Pannartz.

**Erhard Ratdolt — Renaissance Typographer, to be published later this year — fingers crossed!

*The Leipzig copy, now in Moscow, contains annotations dated 30 September, 1465.



Sponsored by H&FJ.

The first book printed in Italy


I love typography, the typography and fonts blog

Last Week of Early Bird Rate for Second Kerning Conference in Faenza, Italy

Another conference is having its last week of Early Bird rates. While TYPO Berlin covers a broad range of topics related to design, culture and society, Kerning Conference squarely focuses on (web) typography. It is the perfect companion for that other web typography event Ampersand in Brighton, Great Britain – one for each “side” of Europe. I had the pleasure to attend – and speak at – the inaugural edition last year, and it was very enjoyable. This year’s line-up again looks great, with exciting speakers and the excellent Simone Wolf moderating.

Kerning is organised in Faenza, in the very heart of Italy. Although there is only one day of presentations (just like Ampersand) on June 6th, it is preceded by a day of workshops On June 5th. The international line-up of speakers includes big names like Vincent Connare, Jessica Hische, Elliot Jay Stocks, Francesco Franchi, Jan Middendorp, Ellen Lupton, and Erik van Blokland. Besides being an information-packed conference, its intimate nature offers the opportunity to meet typographers and type designers, designers and developers, gurus and innovators from all over the world. Kerning being a non-profit event, its organisers wish to help grow their community by keeping knowledge affordable The Early Bird rates make it even more so – until December 31st 30 tickets are made available at a mere €125 instead of the full price of €175 (VAT included).

The Kerning website uses the webfonts Adelle from TypeTogether and Hannes von Döhren’s Pluto Sans.

Header image: Kerning 2013 © Alessio Carone. Discover the complete Set on Flickr.


The FontShop FontFeed

Interview: Sophie Morichi of Archivio Picone : The family of Italian designer Giuseppe Picone keep his artistic legacy and contribution to “Made In Italy” alive

Interview: Sophie Morichi of Archivio Picone


by Heather Stewart Feldman When artist, ceramist and fabric and fashion designer Giuseppe Picone passed away in 2008, he left behind a precious gift to Italian craft history. Picone’s invaluable artistic legacy and many contributions were key…

Continue Reading…


Cool Hunting