Typography and Printing in Italy


  • Spend two weeks and four days in Italy making stops in Milan, Verona, Venice, Florence, and Cornuda, a small Italian town off the beaten track with a world-renowned typography and printing museum.
  • Explore Milan’s best inscriptions and public typography with internationally known lettering artist James Clough.
  • Tour the Museo Lapidario Maffeiano in Verona, and participate in a calligraphy workshop with Claudia Tavella.
  • Design and print a chapbook on the cast iron handpress with Lucio Passerini at Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione.
  • Visit the magnificent collections of the Galleria degli Uffizi and Academia in Florence, cradle of the Renaissance.

Italy has been a center for typographic excellence and innovation since the fifteenth century. The typeface Bodoni is named for its designer, Giambatista Bodoni, printer of Parma. In Venice alone, no less than two million books were printed between 1470 and 1500. Italics were invented there, along with the “pocket” book—the forerunner of today’s paperback. In fact, most of the conventions of contemporary book design were established in Italy during the Renaissance. The purpose of Typography & Printing program is to bring the history of typography to life for students, through visits to collections of historic significance and participation in intensive workshops at Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione, Cornuda, and the University of Verona.

Depart US: Day 1
Arrive in Milan: Day 2
Depart Florence: Day 19

Milan, Italy (4 days)
Milan, the capital of fashion, design and culture initiates our journey across and down the Italian peninsula. We will explore the National Design Triennale, the Studio Museum of Achille Castiglione, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, Duomo, and Leonardo’s Last Supper. Calligrapher and author James Clough will lead us on a tour of the most interesting inscriptions and public type in the city.

Verona, Italy (3 days)
Tucked into a nook on the river Adige, Verona is a lovely, architecturally original UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we will visit the Museo Lapidario Maffeiano, an important collection of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman epigraphs. We will then learn to create letterforms inspired by the collection in a workshop with lettering artist Claudia Tavella of Yvat&Klerb, Milan.

Cornuda, Italy (4 Days)
The Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione is located in Cornuda, in the province of Treviso, in the heart of the Veneto Region. Located in the buildings of the old “Canapificio Veneto”, the Tipoteca was initiated to house typographic artifacts and events. Tipoteca is not only a rich collection of typefaces, but also an archive, museum print shop, casting facility and library. Our group will participate in a workshop with internationally recognized artist and printer Lucio Passerini. Under Passerini’s expert guidance students will design, compose and print a chapbook in a limited edition, using the historic metal and wood types in the collection. Thursday evening, Chef Cristina Colle will teach us to make authentic regional dishes in a cooking class at the restaurant Le Cordiere.

Venice, Italy (3 days)
Venice, “La Serenissima”, the “Most Serene”, was the epicenter of printing activity and innovation in the Renaissance. Participants will begin touring the Grand Canal by “vaporetto” making a stop to enjoy the collection of contemporary artwork at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. We will visit the Piazza, Basilica, and Museum of San Marco and spend a day exploring the islands of the Venetian lagoon—Murano, Burano and Torcello.

Florence, Italy (4 days)
The city in which the Renaissance was born, completes our tour. Highlights of our stay include the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Galleries, and Michelangelo’s David in the Academia.


Students must enroll in 6 hours for the program.

The courses are:

ADS 532 Typography & Printing in Italy (3 credit hours)

ADS 533 Study Abroad—Typography & Printing in Italy (3 credit hours)

Prior to traveling to Italy, students will be expected to attend lectures and discussions in the spring semester and will be given a variety of ‘research’ assignments to prepare them for travel.

Course Descriptions

ADS 532 Typography & Printing in Italy is a studio course in which students will study calligraphy with Claudia Tavella and work with Lucio Passerini to design and print a limited edition. In addition, students will document the artifacts, type and printed matter observed throughout the trip, in order to incorporate it into a personal journal. A publication featuring photographs and sketches of the historic, modern and public type observed will be the deliverable product of this experience.

ADS 533 Study Abroad Documentation: This course includes relevant assigned research topics to be completed during the Spring Semester before travel initiates.  Documentation of the travel experience itself will satisfy the rest of the requirements for credit. In a photographic and literary journal of the trip, students will keep notes, reflections and visual information for evaluation by the instructors. Mandatory attendance is required at all scheduled visits during the trip.

The ADS 532 course fulfills 3 credits of core requirements for Visual Communications majors, and studio credits for other majors and Schools. ADS 533 fulfills the Study Abroad requirement for Visual Communication majors, and other majors and Schools.

Participants will stay in centrally located hotels in Milan, Verona, Cornuda, Venice, and Florence. Rooms range from double to quad occupancy. Continental breakfast is included daily.

Open to undergraduate or graduate design, art and architecture students from any accredited U.S. college or university. Priority will be given to KU students. Minimum 2.5 GPA required (exceptions considered after submission of a petition).

Program Faculty:
Linda Samson Talleur, Lecturer in Letterpress Printing, earned her MFA in the Book Arts from the University of Alabama in 1986. She was subsequently awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Verona, Italy where she studied under Master Printer Alessandro Zanella. She currently teaches at the University of Kansas and publishes limited editions under the imprint La Ginestra.

Andrea Herstowski, Associate Professor and Chair of Design, came back to KU to teach after receiving a BFA here in 1990 and the equivalent of an MFA at the Schule fur Gestaltung Basel in Switzerland. She also taught design at the Academy of Art in San Francisco for several years. She has practiced design in various capacities at internationally recognized studios in San Francisco and Germany, including Factory Design Inc. and xplicit GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany.

For more information contact:
Linda Samson Talleur, Lecturer
Chalmers Hall, room 365

Andrea Herstowski, Associate Professor
Chalmers Hall, room 354