How this 17th century Venetian printing company became a global trendsetter

For centuries, Venice was Europe's centre for printing and publishing. And now, an Italian family business is breathing new life into the longstanding Venetian tradition of artisan printing.

Bassano del Grappa: heartland of the Venetian paper industry

Just north of Venice lies Bassano del Grappa. In the 17th and 18th centuries this unassuming town becomes the epicentre of the Venetian publishing industry. These are the days of the powerful and wealthy Venetian Republic, which for centuries rules much of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean.

Historic Italian press prints from Remondini

The European centre for printing and publishing

With its wealth, the Venetian Republic is at the forefront of many new developments in innovation, design and fashion. One of the new inventions Venice excells in is printing. Not long after the German Johannes Gutenberg invents mechanical press printing in 1453 Venice becomes the European centre for printing and publishing. It's not just the city's richess that contribute to this development. Crucially, because of Venice's power and dominance, it is able to escape the Vatican's strict censorship rules. As a result, the Venetian Republic has freedom of press and it becomes a breeding ground for novel ideas and inventions.

By the 16th century hundreds of publishers operate in the Venetian Republic, printing more than 25,000 editions of books that are exported all over Europe and beyond. One firm in particular gains worldwide fame: Remondini. Based in Bassano del Grappa, Remondini produces a wide range of publications on an impressive scale. At some point it even is Europe's largest printing company, making Bassano the beating heart of the Venetian publishing sector.

The rise of Remondini

Remondini's printed materials include religious texts, popular prints and wallpapers, many of which are distributed throughout Europe and even the Americas and Asia. Many of the company's own graphic designs - including its unique wallpapers - become hugely popular both in Venice and further afield. However, the fall of the Venetian Republic also marks the decline of Remondini. After more than 200 years of activity the firm is sold off to various manufacturers in 1861.

Historic press printer                       Historic press printer                       Historic press printer     

How Tassotti brought the Venetian printing tradition back to life

In 1957, Giorgio Tassotti decides to breathe new life into the former Remondini business. Using some of the same techniques and equipment, Tassotti begins to produce  coloured prints. Today, the family business continues to make some of the most beautiful printed items. Among them are reproductions of original Remondini prints, such as the turquoise floral bands and the black and white triangle prints that are part of some of our special gift and collector's sets in our online shop.
And so, Tassotti is carrying on the legacy of a centuries’ old artisan Venetian craft. In this fast-paced 21st century world, it's a craft that deserves to be admired.
Heritage Italian notebooks, pencils and postcards
Images credit: Grafiche Tassotti and The Hyper Localist