An Italian Story
Silvio Antiga (editor)
In his preface to this work, Lucio Passerini states: “A good book is a milestone, a point of reference in space and time. And those who print books every day and know the trade well, are conscious that a book is naturally the most appropriate instrument for fixing a story onto paper”.
Grafica Antiga’s celebration of its first fifty years in business offered a valid pretext for creating a work full of images and contents that retraces not just the story of a museum, but above all spotlights material and documents of outstanding value. The book is a journey through printing, masterfully using paper and techniques that give ‘character’ to books printed in the digital era, particularly the three inserts impression printed with historic type from the Tipoteca archives.
Designed by London graphic artist Simon Esterton, with images by photographer Claudio Rocci and texts by Italian and foreign experts, written in Italian and English, this book pays homage to the beauty of books and printing, concentrating particularly on typefaces and printing presses, a historic heritage salvaged by Tipoteca and placed in a museum where visitors are welcome.
Silvio Antiga, the creator and editor of the book, started as an apprentice with a local printer, going on to work in the pre-printing shop of a large Treviso company. In 1960, he and his brothers Franco, Mario and Carlo founded the company Grafiche Antiga at Crocetta del Montello, in the province of Treviso. In 1995, at Cornuda, they set up the Tipoteca Italiana, a private foundation whose purpose is to preserve and divulge the Italian printing heritage, now considered the most important, internationally renowned musuem in Italy dedicated to the story of printing and typeface design.
The jury found many reasons to assign the prize to this book: because its pages teach and at the same time excite the reader with tales of an Italian success story, a Veneto family and the art of printing, and the members of the jury are convinced that quality stories will save printing and add cultural value to a materialistically prosperous land. Because the book is framed in pure beauty, where creative ingenuity goes hand in hand with editorial technique and people’s lives intertwine with the journey of typeface from the sixteenth century to our times. Because this fascinating work is the result of team work, of many authors, guided by Silvio Antiga and his brothers, who ‘know’ printing, have lived and grown up with it, and in the end have created a museum and cultural centre frequented by passionate fans and scholars from all over the world, who come to see the origins of the art of printing, communications and design. The award of the Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Literary Prize is our acknowledgement of a book that is real literature, based on words and images, in pages that transmit the scent of ink, the heat of casting iron and the noise of ever more powerful machines: it is the apex of a true craft.