Venice and the Written word

The Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia in Campo Manin in Venice
I think most people would struggle to name a famous Venetian writer. The city has never really excelled in the written word, apart from the printing of it. In that, it was, for a century or more, in a class of its own. 
A plaque to Aldus Manutius, the founder of the Aldine Press, in the Campo Manin in Venice
Printing flourished to such an extent in Venice that by the year 1500 there were an estimated 150 presses in the city, almost as many as in the whole of the rest of Italy. Probably the most famous printer was Teobaldo Pio Manuzio (better known as Aldus Manutius), who arrived in Venice from Rome in 1495. 

He immediately  set up the Aldine Press under the sign of the Dolphn and Anchor, in what was then the Campo San Paternian (today's Campo Manin). His success owed much to his introduction of small and cheap editions of the classics. He also invented the Italic script, which enabled his printers to fit more letters onto the page. 

The master died in 1515, but the Aldine Press continued to flourish throughout the sixteenth century, first under his son and then his grandson. 

The site of the Aldine Press is marked by a plaque, which can be found on the wall of the Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia.


Popular Posts