A visit to old printer Tipografia Grifani Donati in Città di Castello is always full of surprises. Visitors always enjoy one in particular: a guided tour of the Graphic Arts Museum by the owner of this historical Umbria company, founded in 1799. It’s a great chance to discover this so-called “community museum”, which strives to “showcase the cultural heritage of local people who worked (and continue to work) in the field of printing.”
Indeed, Città di Castello has a long and interesting tradition of printing: it is Italy’s second printing hub after Milan.
And Tipografia Grifani Donati flaunts a very special story, because when technology completely revolutionized phototypesetting and replaced it with digital processing its owners decided against selling the machines and equipment they had used for decades, and instead kept clichés, electroplated plates, woodcuts, printing, chalcographic and lithographic presses in perfect working condition, cases full of copper, wood and allow letters…
They also decided that the company would focus on high-quality production, re-introducing the printing processes that the mass market considered obsolete, but indeed still had a precious niche market. A decision that has set them apart since then.