Lying on the edge of Italy’s Prosecco region just north of Venice is Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione, a museum founded to preserve the history of Italian letterpress. For anyone interested in typography and printing, a pilgrimage to this Aladdin’s cave of wonders is essential. To say the museum is extensive is a huge understatement: aside from exhibits plotting the evolution of printing you will find hundreds of cases of well-preserved wooden and metal type, some dating as far back as the early 1800s, working presses of all shapes and sizes (including Dell’Orto handpresses and a Rodgers Typograph), equipment and tools used in the production of type (such as Bodoni punches and the matrices and patterns for fonts by designers such as Aldo Novaresse and Alessandro Butti) and a library of rare books (with original Aldus Manutius editions and Bodoni’s Fregi e majuscule and Manuale Tipografico typeface specimens).
And Tipoteca is a working museum, with operational machines and a program of classes in printing, calligraphy and bookbinding. Graham and Richard were fortunate enough to be invited to spend a week exploring and using the collection to produce a print edition in celebration of the museum’s 15th anniversary, along with John Christopher, Thomas Gravemaker, Sander Pinkse, Stéphane De Schrevel and Michael Karner (more information on the print edition to follow). Our stay was made all the more enjoyable by the friendship and generosity of Silvio Antiga and Sandro Berra and the delicious food and wine at Le Corderie restaurant opposite the museum – alla prossima!