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.

Chronology of Lettering Walks

This is a list of all of the lettering walks I have led or co-led since the beginning of Legacy of Letters in 1997. There are additional cities that I have not led walks in, but have the capability to do so. They include Amsterdam, Berlin, Leiden, London, Mainz, New Orleans, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Rochester (New York), Toronto, Troy (New York), Tulsa, and Washington DC. I have led walks for institutions, organizations, design schools, businesses and individuals. For more information about …
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Legacy of Letters Tour & Workshop 2017 Itinerary

Legacy of Letters Tour & Workshop 2017 : Letterpress Printing with Erik Spiekermann
The upcoming Legacy of Letters Tour & Workshop will begin in Turin (Torino) before visiting Rovereto and Padua. It will conclude in Cornuda, home of the Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione, where Erik Spiekermann will lead a five-day letterpress printing workshop.
For the first time the Legacy of Letters tour will visit Torino, the home of the House of Savoy, in the Piedmont region of Italy. Camillo Benso, Conte di Cavour (commonly known …
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Legacy of Letters 2017—Erik Spiekermann at the Tipoteca

If you don’t recognize this face you haven’t been paying attention to graphic design, information design, typography and type design for the past three decades. This is Erik Spiekermann. He was trained, in the true German printing tradition, as a compositor before working at H. Berthold GmbH under the legendary Gunter Gerhard Lange. For Berthold he both designed typefaces (the revivals of Berliner Grotesk and LoType for instance) and type specimens. In 1987 he also wrote the wonderfully …
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Legacy of Letters 2016—Cibo part 1

Click here for more information on Legacy of Letters 2016.
With the theme of the 2016 Legacy of Letters workshop being Tipo Cibo Vino (Type Food Wine) here are a few photographs of “cibo” from past Legacy of Letters tours.
Photograph by Paul Shaw 2013.
Food is everywhere in Italy, in the streets as well as in the ristoranti, trattorie, and osterie. These first two photographs are from vegetable and fruit markets in Venice and the third is of some octopus …
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Tipo Cibo Vino: Legacy of Letters 2016 Workshop

The 2016 Legacy of Letters letterpress workshop will take place at the Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione in Cornuda, Italy from July 9 to 16. Food and wine have always been an important aspect of previous Legacy of Letters tours, but this time they will become an integral aspect of the workshop which will pair cooking lessons with letterpress printing. Thus, the title of Tipo Cibo Vino (Type Food Wine).
Tipo Cibo Vino will begin with a …
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Legacy of Letters 2015 with Alan Kitching—Itinerary, workshop and registration

Mr. Kitching’s Travels around London (2012). Letterpress print designed by Alan Kitching showing the various locations where his Typography Workshop has been located. Image courtesy of Advanced Graphics London.

The 2015 Legacy of Letters tour and workshop with Alan Kitching will take place in Northern Italy from June 27 to July 8. It will consist of six days of touring museums, libraries and churches in Lombardy and the Veneto and four days of letterpress printing with the celebrated British designer …
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My first meeting with Alan Kitching in 1995

I discovered Alan Kitching nearly 30 years ago. But what I discovered was not what I expected. In 1995 I took a self-paid two month “sabbatical” from teaching and designing to travel in Europe with the goal of looking at letters first-hand: in manuscripts in libraries, on the buildings and monuments of cities, in churches and museums. While in London, I went to visit type designer Dave Farey, who I had met the year before at ATypI in San Francisco. …
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Legacy of Letters 2015—Alan Kitching Letterpress Workshop

Poster designed by Alan Kitching and printed letterpress (2014).
This just hot off the press (so to speak): Alan Kitching, British graphic design legend, has agreed to teach a 4-day letterpress workshop, limited to eight people, as part of the 2015 Legacy of Letters Tour and Workshop. The entire tour and workshop, organized by Paul Shaw and Alta Price, will take place next summer from June 28 to July 7. The Kitching workshop will take place at the Continue reading

Legacy of Letters 2014 Update

Due to insufficient enrollment the 2014 Legacy of Letters workshop and tour has been cancelled, much to my regret. However, Alta and I are already preparing for the 2015 Legacy of Letters workshop and tour and hope to have details posted before June. Save up your money and clear your calendar. Please contact me at paulshaw@nyc.rr.com to be on our mailing list. Grazie.
House number (Modena).

Legacy of Letters 2014

Alta examining Roman inscription on a wall in Verona (2013). Photograph by Paul Shaw.
The 2014 Legacy of Letters Tour and Workshop will be different from prior ones. I will be leading it on my own since my colleague Alta Price is taking a sabbatical from Legacy of Letters to attend to her burgeoning career as a translator. She will return in 2015. Meanwhile, I am using the occasion to shake up the itinerary a bit.
Legacy of Letters 2014 will …
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La dolce vita dei caratteri: looking back at Legacy of Letters 2012

In preparation for Legacy of Letters 2013 I was looking through the over 1300 photos that Alexander Trubin sent me from last year’s tour and workshop. I had failed to organize them and last night I found myself bogged down in the tedious task while watching the New York Rangers demolish the Washington Capitals. The tedium was relieved by the opportunity to enjoy and relive the tour afresh: rubbing inscriptions in the courtyard of Sant’Ambrogio in Milano, viewing the moulds …
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Legacy of Letters 2013 Tour and Workshop Options

Legacy of Letters 2013 Tour and Workshop Options
For the first time Legacy of Letters is offering shorter options to its full ten day tour and workshop. Here are the various choices:
Full Tour and Workshops with Tony Di Spigna and Lucio Passerini
Sunday, June 23 through Thursday, July 4
$3775 / €2900 regular price
$3500 / €2690 student discount
Details at
Punches for swash capitals by Giambattista Bodoni.
Optional Post-Tour trip to Parma (Museo Bodoniano)
Thursday, July 4 through Friday, July 5
$360 / €275 single-room occupancy
$300 / €230 …
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Legacy of Letters 2013 profile—Tony Di Spigna

Tony Di Spigna has been creating gems of Spencerian script—his term for drawn lettering derived from roundhand and other forms of pointed-pen writing—for over forty years. He learned the skill from Tom Carnase while working for Herb Lubalin & Associates, though I believe he has surpassed his mentor. There are two things that have always impressed me the most about Tony’s Spencerian script: 1. the gracefulness and naturalness of his curves; and 2. his ability to make compositions that hold …
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2013 Legacy of Letters Tour Leaders and Instructors

Meet the Legacy of Letters staff for 2013: Paul Shaw and Alta Price, tour leaders; Lucio Passerini and Tony Di Spigna, instructors; and Sandro Berra, coordinator of the Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione.
Paul Shaw is widely known and respected as a guide to urban lettering.With Garrett Boge he co-founded and led the original Legacy of Letters tours of Rome, Florence and Tuscany from 1997 to 2000. On his own he has led regular walking tours of lettering in …
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Legacy of Letters: “I loved it and would do it every year if I could.”

“I loved that it was a small group, as we got to meet one another. The tour allowed for us to explore the city we were in. The tour included so much I was surprised we managed to fit in everything. I LOVED IT and would do it every year if I could. Thank you for the most enjoyable, informative and exciting 3 weeks. I have met friends that will last a lifetime.
Diana Pasovski, graphic designer, Australia
Diana Pasovski printing …
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“Grab life by the typographic tail!”

There is still time to sign up for the 2013 Legacy of Letters Tour & Workshop at the early bird discounted price. Join Alta Price and me in Italy this summer and see how much fun you can have with letters. It is the experience of a lifetime.
Paul Shaw 
Alexander practicing Cyrillic calligraphy.
“This ten-day immersion in the world of Latin letterforms, in their native environment, was an unforgettable experience. It was such an amazing time, filled with lots of …
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