Legacy of Letters

Legacy of Letters was conceived in 1996 by Garrett Boge as an opportunity for calligraphers, lettercutters, typographers and anyone else passionate about letterforms to study the history of the Roman alphabet in its place of origin. The tour was inspired by the famous student tours of Rome and Florence led every other Spring by Prof. Michael Twyman and his colleagues in the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. Boge and I led tours of Rome from 1997 to 1999 and of Florence and Tuscany in 2000. In 2010 I revived Legacy of Letters with the help of Alta Price. The tour currently focuses on cities in the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regions, but in the future it will expand to include other locations in Italy.

Angelina Lippert on Legacy of Letters

Angelina Lippert (Legacy of Letters 2022):
Imagine being in Italy with a dozen of the coolest design and type nerds in the world, all eager to share their knowledge and drink good wine with you. I normally hate group trips, but somehow the people attracted to the Legacy of Letters manage to elevate what could sound like the school trip from hell and make it two weeks of rip-roaring printing fun fueled by cheese and aperol spritzes. Moreover, Paul’s personal …
Continue reading

Gloria Kondrup for Legacy of Letters

Gloria Kondrup (Legacy of Letters 2017):

Whether you are a novice or master letterpress printer, or a lover of books and typography, Legacy of Letters is a unique experience. In addition to printing with the incredible collection of type at Tipoteca, you share your journey with great people.

Gloria Kondrup measuring type in the bed of the press during the Erik Spiekermann letterpress workshop for Legacy of Letters 2017. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Legacy of Letters 2023 will take place from …
Continue reading

Raffaela Canu on Legacy of Letters

Raffaela Canu (Legacy of Letters 2017):
Legacy of Letters in 2017 was a really fantastic experience. The artisans at the many printing workshops we visited shared their passion and knowledge of the craft with us. We were able to watch as they produced stunning examples of letterpress printing.
We visited several museums dedicated to the history of typography and printing, where we were able to learn about the evolution of the craft and see some of the oldest typefaces and …
Continue reading

Diane Tomasso on Legacy of Letters

Diane Tomasso (with her husband Ray Tomasso Legacy of Letters 2015 and Legacy of Letters 2017):
I attended Legacy of Letters twice with my late husband, artist Ray Tomasso. The tours encompassed a delightful assortment of historic art and architecture along with calligraphy, typography, letterforms and printing from the medieval to the modern and contemporary. We particularly enjoyed Paul’s walking tours of formal and ad hoc signage. For Ray, the letterpress workshops at the Tipoteca with Alan Kitching and Erik Spiekermann …
Continue reading

“Old machines for modern design”—An Interview with Officina Typo in Modena

“A inventare i numeri” by Gianni Rodori poster by Officina Typo. Image courtesy of Officina Typo.
The lock-up for “A inventare i numeri” poster. Image courtesy of Officina Typo.
One of the optional events of Legacy of Letters 2022 Tipo Cibo Vino was a visit to Officina Typo following a morning at the Biblioteca Estense. No one signed up for it.
But I was eager to see the shop since it had been recommended to me by Sandro Berra of the Tipoteca. Thus, …
Continue reading

Liz DeLuna on Legacy of Letters

Liz DeLuna (Legacy of Letters 2015 and Legacy of Letters 2017):
Legacy of Letters tours are an experience of a lifetime. My visits to the Tipoteca with Legacy of Letters inspired me to write a blog post for Alphabettes. Anyone lucky enough to visit Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione is rewarded with a vibrant and immersive connection to the history of printing and type. For lovers of type, it is a bucket list must. For lovers of type and lovers of …
Continue reading

Clint Harvey on Legacy of Letters

Clint Harvey (Legacy of Letters 2012 and Legacy of Letters 2015)
Legacy of Letters literally framed my career path, traveling northern Italy with Paul Shaw and Alta Price in both 2012 and 2015 allowed me to gain an understanding of type, lettering and history that I had missed in my 30 years of design. Workshops with Alan Kitching and Luca Barcellona; meeting such wonderful people as Sando Berra and the team at the Tipoteca; and being guided on an introduction …
Continue reading

Alexander (Sasha) Trubin on Legacy of Letters

Alexander Trubin (Legacy of Letters 2012 and Legacy of Letters 2015):
If you are a type geek it’s hard to think of a better way to spend your vacation. Two travels with Legacy of Letters always stay in my memory as those very rare moments of pure joy.
Sasha Trubin (right) consulting with technician Daniele Facchin during the Alan Kitching letterpress workshop as part of Legacy of Letters 2015. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Legacy of Letters 2023 will take place from June 29 …
Continue reading

Ferdinand Ulrich on Legacy of Letters

Ferdinand Ulrich (Legacy of Letters 2017 letterpress workshop instructor):
Through Legacy of Letters I was introduced to Tipoteca and its splendid group of aficionados who guard one of the greatest typographic treasures in Europe: a precious collection of rare type specimens, hundreds (if not thousands) of wood and metal alphabets, and an assembly of printing machines that is unparalleled. Since co-instructing the Legacy of Letters letterpress workshop in 2017, I have visited Tipoteca three more times. I have not come …
Continue reading

Erik Spiekermann on Legacy of Letters

Erik Spiekermann (Legacy of Letters 2017 letterpress workshop leader):
Roman, Italic, Antiqua; Pizza, Pasta, Vino.
Seems like some of the best things in a designer’s life come from Italy. Add to those the romantic towns, the world’s best museum of type & typography (Tipoteca Italiana), and a knowledgeable, Italian-speaking guide (Paul Shaw), and you have the perfect trip. Legacy of Letters is educational, entertaining, enlightening, and, above all, fun. I know, I’ve been there.
Erik Spiekermann adjusting type during the Legacy of …
Continue reading

Legacy of Letters 2023— Il Buon Tempo

The new home of Il Buon Tempo in Casteggio. Lucio Passerini (center) is chatting with James Clough (left) and Peter Kruty (right). Photograph by Paul Shaw (2022).
On Day 5 Legacy of Letters 2023 will visit Il Buon Tempo, the letterpress studio of Lucio Passerini, in its new home in Casteggio, a small town in the Oltrèpo region of Lombardia.
Legacy of Letters has had a long history with Lucio Passerini and Il Buon Tempo. Alta Price and I were introduced …
Continue reading

Legacy of Letters 2023—Archivio Tipografico in Torino (Part 2)

Interior of Archivio Tipografico with a sign from an old printshop on the wall. (Tipografia is Italian for printing). Photograph by Paul Shaw (2017).
This is a continuation of an interview with Gabriele Fumero of Archivio Tipografico, a letterpress studio in Torino. The first part can be found at Legacy of Letters 2023—Archivio Tipografico in Torino (Part 1).

Paul: How did you acquire the various items in your studio: the presses, type, tools, etc.?
Gabriele: Emanuele collected them all personally by visiting …
Continue reading

Lucille Tenazas on Legacy of Letters

Lucille Tenazas (Legacy of Letters 2019):
My participation in the Legacy of Letters tour and workshop in 2019 rekindled my interest in letterpress printing and, by extension, to the beauty and importance of what curator and writer Glenn Adamson calls material intelligence. Tipoteca Fondazione Italiana, a museum, library and archive of type and typography in Cornuda is the ideal setting for these discoveries. It’s a place worthy of an annual pilgrimage.
Lucille Tenazas setting type during the letterpress workshop at the …
Continue reading

Legacy of Letters 2023—Archivio Tipografico in Torino (Part 1)

A pixelated view of Archivio Tipografico by eBoy. Their design was converted to typographic material and printed letterpress in two colors by members of Archivio Tipografico
On Day 2 of Legacy of Letters 2023 we will be in Torino to visit Archivio Tipografico. We visited the cooperative letterpress studio for the first time as part of Legacy of Letters 2017. Last summer, prior to the beginning of Legacy of Letters 2022, I made a second visit to Archivio Tipografico …
Continue reading

Alan Kitching on Legacy of Letters

Alan Kitching (Leader of the Legacy of Letters 2015 letterpress workshop):
To journey across Northern Italy from Milan to Venice in the company of Paul Shaw — whose extensive knowledge of lettering and typography is unparalleled — is a privilege and pleasure. To gain access to some of the world’s most prestigious libraries and galleries is indeed a wonderful experience. Then to finish at the Tipoteca is a great climax to an exciting journey.
Alan Kitching examining finished portfolio prints …
Continue reading

Jeryl Jones on Legacy of Letters

Jeryl Jones (Legacy of Letters 2017):
My first travel abroad was with Legacy of Letters (LL2017)—the experience exceeded my expectations! The detailed itinerary was carefully thought through and well balanced. The trip represented impressive and comfortable travel to different cities in Northern Italy visiting print as well as lettering shops, libraries and walking experiences.
The accommodations were wonderful at all stops and the Villa Bolzonello, on a hill above the village in Cornuda, was picturesque—Prosecco anyone? The trip culminated in a …
Continue reading