This article first appeared in Issue 25 of Forum,
the journal of Letter Exchange, March 2013
Anyone visiting Verona in the near future should look beyond the tourist traps and head to a little gem in the back streets. Yes, the arena is spectacular, the museum at the amphitheatre has some lovely inscriptions and the chewing-gum-plastered walls of Juliet’s house are amazing in their own tacky way. But the real treat for a typophile is a Tipgraphia, a museum of type and printing just off Piazza Herbe in Via S. Maria in Chiavica.
The current proprietor, Rossana Conte, inherited it from her father and grandfather before that. She turned it from a jobbing print shop into a museum to preserve the treasury of print equipment that had accumulated over the years.
Although it is used mainly to print the etchings created by her mother, Rossana’s archive is much richer than that. As she showed me round, I came across a beautiful old Heidleburg press, an old Linotype metal typesetting contraption and some of the loveliest wood type I have ever seen. And she has a very impressive collection of (still working) early Apple Macs.
I couldn’t help feeling that more could be done to make the most of what they have here. It’ the sort of place that could do with the support of Letter Exchange, our members and the wider lettering community. Anyone interested should visit their website www.tipoarche.com or drop in next time you are in Northern Italy.
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