Venice for Typophiles

rs_donsata's picture

Hi, I'm passing my honeymoon on Venice next November. Are there any type specific spots to visit? I tought that there would be some Nocholas Jenson or Aldus Manutius museum but I just can't find anything.

At least I can shoot a picture of the houses where the shops were located if somebody knows the location.


Andreas Stötzner's picture

I just can't find anything

… because there is nothing. The actual place of the Aldine officina is not known, nothing remained.
Maybe you make some discovery.

Besides that: scroll through the city, get off the beaten tracks.
Fine-tune your eyes for the glyphic language of the architecture. Go inside the churches and view engraved lettering on epitaphs and tombs …

Have a good time.

.00's picture

When strolling in Venice alway remember:

sempre diretto

angelsanchez's picture

Carlo Scarpa is an italian architect who always took care of the lettering in his works, specially in tombs. Here you'll find a relation of his projects:

One of the best known is the Olivetti Showroom in Piaza San Marco:


John Hudson's picture

This is the plaque on the wall of a modern building near the Piazza Manin, commemorating the workplace of the Manutii. I stumbled on this by chance when I was last in Venice, ten years ago.

angelsanchez's picture

You will also find beautiful signs like this one I photographed there last year:

rs_donsata's picture

Well, that´s a good starting poing John. I promise some good lettering snapshots and maybel I´ll buey something on the Olivetti Showroom.

.00's picture

A few things from my visit to Venice a few years ago...

dfp's picture

It's a strange advice for a person who's going to pass his honeymoon in Venice, but...

I live in Mestre and I recommend you to visit the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Marciana Library), the most important library in Venice and one of the most important in Italy (not only the museum: go into the library). There you can find a lot of incunabula and books of the sixteenth century (see OPAC at In Marciana there's the complete aldine collection (for example, there are two copies of DE AETNA by Pietro Bembo [IMPRESSUM VENETIIS IN AEDIBUS ALDI ROMANI MENSE FEBRVARIO ANNO .M.VD.]; the most beautiful copy is "ALDINE 380": it's a magic to hold it in your hands [but less then to hold your future wife in your arms]). Warning: to read requested book(s) you have to wait half an hour, at least; so, if you are going to take a visit, you must have clear ideas of what you want to see before entering. You can find information about the rules of the library at (in italian).

And if you have time, you can visit "Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione": a typeface and printing museum in Cornuda (not so far from Venice; nevertheless there's some difficult to reach it by train). It's very very interesting (information at and it's near to Asolo (remember Bembo) and not so far from the Dolomites (better than a museum for the honeymoon; and in november is not so cold yet).

Good luck.

rs_donsata's picture

Great, I won't miss the Marciana Library!

ak's picture

San Michele cemetary

quadibloc's picture

Yes, that even in Venice, workplace of Nicolas Jenson and Aldus Manutilus, we see Comic Sans used inappropriately... is hardly surprising.

John Hudson's picture

James, we have many of the same photos I think.

If you find yourself in the vicinity of San Giorgio dei Greci, the Greek Orthodox cathedral, keep your eye open for a lovely sign that was outside when I was last there: an imaginative use of brass Latin letters to represent Greek. I recall an upside down U representing Π as the biggest stretch.

rs_donsata's picture

I found it but i can't insert images, I get: onHTTPError: 500.

Apart from a very rewarding visit to the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (no photos allowed) I had little time to watch for type and inscriptions but I will be posting a few pics the next days as soon as I can figure out the 500 error.

kentlew's picture

The Punchcut IT guys are working on resolving the image upload issues.

In the meantime, you can embed images using <img> tags if you want. If you have a lot of images, you might upload them all to Flickr, then embed one or two here with <img> tags, and then link out to the whole set there.

rs_donsata's picture

Three humble Found Type Snapshots from Venice, next week I'll post a couple more from Rome:

hrant's picture

Sorry I had missed this thread!

Venice was one of the stops during my own honeymoon (back
in 1995). And we were lucky to have been there on a Tuesday,
since that's when you can catch a ferry to the Armenian island
of San Lazzaro, which is a surreal place even in the context of
Venice... Typographically, they have a truly amazing library
containing ancient, delicate tomes in numerous writing systems.

BTW, I hope you had a great honeymoon!


rs_donsata's picture

Yes, it was very good. We actually lost our train to Rome because I was on the Biblioteca Marciana sniffing the copy of De Aetna recommended by dfp, I'm sure I could have found a better use for those 150 euros but the experience was worth it and she forgave me soon.

rs_donsata's picture

Ok, here are some pictures from Rome:

The last five pictures of this set are found type in Rome. Nothing original.

hrant's picture

Thanks for sharing.


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