2011 Legacy of Letters Tour Sites in Italy

Wednesday | June 29



Introduction of tour leaders and participants. Information about hotels, meals, meeting times, train and bus tickets, museum tickets, proper dress in churches and other sacred sites, photography advice and regulations, rubbing methods and protocol, language advice, etc. Introduction to the history of Roman letters. Then group dinner and an opportunity to enjoy the city’s famous prosciutto and parmigiano.

Thursday | June 30


Biblioteca Estense · Museo Lapidario Estense

We begin the tour by taking a train to Modena where we visit the Cathedral and the Lapidario Romano dei Musei Civici (home of some inscriptions and sculpture from the cathedral) before meeting type designer Claudio Piccinini for lunch. In the afternoon we visit the Biblioteca Estense (to see the Bibbia d’Este and a manuscript by Felice Feliciano) and the Museo Lapidario Estense to look at Roman inscriptions. We return to Parma for dinner.

Friday | July 1


Museo Bodoniano · Biblioteca Palatina · Museo Archeologico Nazionale

We start the day with a visit to the Museo Bodoniano to see the punches, matrices and books of Giambattista Bodoni. After lunch we return to the Palazzo della Pilotta to see a a manuscript by Bartolomeo Sanvito at the Biblioteca Palatina and some rare Roman inscriptions in metal at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

Saturday | July 2


Verona cathedral · Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore · Sant’Anastasia


Palazzo Te · Sant’Andrea · Mantegna’s house

We move our base of operations from Parma to Verona. After settling in to our new hotel we visit the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, the Cathedral and the church of Sant’Anastasia in the morning. After lunch we travel to nearby Mantua to see the work of Andrea Mantegna in the Palazzo Te and the Basilica di Sant’Andrea designed by Leon Battista Alberti. We return to Verona for a special dinner with printer and book designer Martino Mardersteig.

Sunday | July 3


Arch of the Gavi · Arena Amphitheatre · Museo Lapidario Scipione Maffei


Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto

We continue our stay in Verona with a walk through the city to see surviving aspects of its Roman heritage: the Arco dei Gavi (designed by Vitruvius), the Arena Amphitheatre and the inscriptions in the Museo Lapidario Scipione Maffei. In the afternoon we move on to Padua. On the way, we stop for a late lunch in Rovereto and a visit to the Fortunato Depero collection at the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto.

Monday | July 4


Biblioteca Capitolare · Basilica di Sant’Antonio · Scrovegni Chapel · Museo Archeologico di Padova · Chiesa degli Eremitani

Our first day in Padua is a rich one. We start with a visit to the statue of Gattamelata by Donatello outside the Basilica di Sant’Antonio followed by a tour of the church’s rich collection of medieval inscriptions in its magnolia-filled cloisters. We spend the remainder of the morning examining manuscripts and incunabula at the Biblioteca Capitolare. After lunch we visit the church of the Eremitani to see what remains of Mantegna’s frescoes in the Cappella Ovetari. The remainder of the afternoon is free time for the participants. We recommend seeing Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel, one of the masterpieces of the early Renaissance; and the Museo Archeologico di Padova.

Tuesday | July 5


San Marco · Santi Giovanni e Paolo · San Lazzaro degli Armeni

From Padua we move on to nearby Venice. The morning is dedicated to a visit to the Basilica of San Marco and its museum and “treasure house”. The afternoon is a free time allowing participants to wander among the beguiling “streets” of Venice. For those who are interested, Alta and I will be doing a short walk to see Santi Giovanni e Paolo and the Arsenale, followed by a trip to the Armenian monastic community on San Lazzaro degli Armeni.

Wednesday | July 6


Fondazione Cini · Il Redentore · S. Giorgio Maggiore · S. Maria della Presentazione (Le Zitelle) · Biblioteca Marciana · Chiesa di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

The morning of our second day in Venice is spent entirely at the Fondazione Cini on the Isola di S. Giorgio Maggiore where we will be able to look at manuscripts and incunabula at leisure. The afternoon is again free time for participants. We recommend visits to the Accademia, the Frari or to the churches of Palladio. An alternative is to join Alta and Paul for a trip to the Biblioteca Marciana.

Thursday | July 7


Museo Paleocristiano · Basilica Patriarcale di S. Maria Assunta · Museo Nazionale Archeologico

Aquileia is our final destination before the weekend workshop. Although it is off the beaten track we are traveling there to see one of the most remarkable Roman pavement mosaics and two outstanding collections of inscriptions from Ancient Rome. We start our day with the Early Christian inscriptions of the Museo Paleocristiano before visiting the Basilica to see the enormous mosaic. Then we break for a picnic lunch before heading to the Museo Nazionale Archeologico to see its rich collection of Republican era Roman inscriptions. We finish the day with dinner in a seaside town.

Friday & Saturday | July 8–9


Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione calligraphy workshop with Paul Shaw and Luca Barcellona

The calligraphy workshop kicks off the weekend at the Tipoteca. In the morning Paul demonstrates the evolution of the Roman alphabet from 1st c. rustic capitals to the humanist bookhand of the Renaissance. He explains the basics of calligraphy with the broad-edged pen: pen angle, the relationship of pen width to letter height, ductus, etc. In the afternoon, he demonstrates how to modernize traditional letterforms and how to use newer tools such as ruling pens and markers.

On Saturday, Luca Barcellona arrives from Milano to demonstrate contemporary calligraphy with the broad-edged brush. Then, Paul and Luca engage in a calligraphic jam session. (If there is sufficient interest, this program will be replaced by a full day workshop in contemporary calligraphy led by Luca.)

Saturday & Sunday | July 9 -10


Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione letterpress workshop with Lucio Passerini

The letterpress workshop begins with participants learning how to set metal type with a composing stick. Saturday will be devoted to laying out the design of a keepsake and setting the text. Text type in metal will be combined with display type in wood from the Tipoteca’s extensive collection and, if desired, with calligraphy from the calligraphy workshop. Printing the keepsake will be done on Sunday. Composition and printing will be overseen by Lucio Passerini from Milano, assisted by Sandro Berra of the Tipoteca.

Click here to register for Legacy of Letters.