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Re: Book Arts in Tuscany

I have recently moved back to Florence, Italy and have been eagerly
searching for book arts connections in the area.

Here are a few suggestions for your visit:

The Contemporary Art Museum Luigi Pecci in Prato (half hour by bus from
Florence) has a good (though not too large) collection of artists books
dating from about the 1960's. They are especially strong in the area of
Italian book artists. They do not have a permanent exhibition of books, but
you can call ahead for an appointment and they will pull things for you to

The Museum of Paper in Fabriano (I know, not technically Tuscany, but if you
have a car...) is worth a side trip. They take you through the papermaking
process using the traditional methods and equipment (mostly reconstructions)
used in Fabriano in the 13th century and later. They have an impressive
collection of moulds/deckles and watermarks. Call ahead if you need an
English guide as they are not always available.

I noticed that someone has already mentioned the Archivio in Siena to see
the Biccherna account book covers, while there you can also visit the
Piccolomini Library in the Siena Cathedral. They usually display an
impressive sampling of their illuminated choir book collection.

In Florence, there are literally dozens and dozens of small bookbinding
bottegas and shops. A couple of years ago, a new shop/gallery opened on Via
della Condotta near Piazza Signoria called Festina Lente. They sell various
paper related works including a small collection of small press and one of a
kind artists' books.

While in Florence, check to see if the Biblioteca Laurenziana (attached to
the Church of San Lorenzo) is having any book shows. They often have shows
which pull from their very strong collection of illuminated manuscripts and
incunabula. While there, take time to see the library containing the
original chained book shelving/seating and Michelangelo's stunning
architectural design and staircase.

If you are interested in buying interesting papers check out Zecchi's on Via
del Studio near the Duomo. They sell wonderful marbled papers by local
artisan Carlo Saitta. Printed papers using 19th century Remondini designs
can be found at Cartoleria Tassotti on via dei Servi also near the Duomo.
Next door is a nice shop (Il Scriptorium) selling leather bound journals,
agendas and so forth.

Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you need any other suggestions. And
please let the list know if you come across any other interesting sites in
your travels.
Buon Viaggio!

Patricia Silva
Florence, Italy
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