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