Founded in 1881 by Francesco Pettinaroli when he first moved to Milan from Lago di Orta, this historic store has been known for years as the ‘Bottega Storica”. Right at the start, it took the form of a stationery store with an adjacent printing and binding shop. It quickly became very popular and well known in Milan, as it filled an obvious need. The fine paper, precise and elegant workmanship and high end paper craft were a hit with the customers, who continue to flock to this day, now 130 years later. They come for printing done for their most important events using the most refined techniques; weddings, birth announcements, business letterheads, calling cards and more. In addition the shop is a legend of style and elegance in writing paper, prints and antique maps, desk items and photo albums in beautifully handcrafted leather honoring the Italian tradition.
With all the physical moves of the past, the store has never lost it view of the symbol of Milan: the tallest spire of the Duomo surmounted by the gilded statue of the Madonnina, so that they have been able to claim: “… over a hundred years beneath the shadow of the Madonnina”.
The fact that the store has always been in the family has ensured that its essence remains unchanged. Now on the 4th generation, Francesco and Giorgio are now at the helm, flanked by other family members who have each added something of their own, while continuing the Italian traditions that have made them proud; one dedicated himself to developing typography, another in recruiting gifted artisans to produce exclusive products arts crafts, still another sought out exacting paper manufactures like Rossi. Francesco, whose passion is antique prints. (English, botanical and cartographic) is a one of Italy’s leading expert’s renowned expert.
“The fact is, we have always dealt in antique prints because we liked them ourselves. My grandparents and uncles were all passionate collectors, although without any precise specialization. I, myself, have inherited this passion in an almost fanatical form, creating within the shop two precisely specialized sectors: geographical maps and views of Milan. When you have a sixteenth-century map in your hands, you can’t help but pause and wonder at the meticulous precision with which certain surveys were done five hundred years ago.”
Since its creation in 1881, Pettinaroli printing has always signified tradition. From the very start they have always devoted themselves to this art in all its aspects, taking personal care of all the phases of production; typesetting, relief printing, lithography, bookbinding all done in the printing studio.
The business has always had the great good fortune of having the printing studio adjacent to the shop itself, with the advantage that they can be present in both the workshop and the shop, and can consult the printers at any time of the day. Thus assuring every custom printing experience is optimal.
“We do not use technologically advanced machinery because we believe that, to produce the desired effect in printing, the best machines are still manual or semi-automatic, where the worker takes care of each individual sheet or card as it is printed.”
“We do not have a great number of gift articles, but we can say that those we do have are truly rare and sophisticated pieces made with the meticulous care and fanatical precision which has made them known and appreciated throughout the world. Fortunately, we sell a lot of Rossi in our shop in Milan. Over 20 years. A beautiful company with always great designs of innovative products.“
One specialized skill that we find fascinating, is their artisan approach to parchment, as it is an art which is fast disappearing. We are talking about parchment made from tanned goatskin, decorated strictly by hand. These are written on by expert calligraphers who, with all the skill and dexterity required by this noble art of ink lettering, will produce veritable masterpieces. With the passage of time, the parchment will become yellow and aged, taking on that precious and mysterious aura which only it possesses. They create small works of art with these parchments, as well as diplomas and certificates.
“Now little remains of the ( physical) classic stationer’s shop, but we like the word “cartoleria” and have become attached to it, so that we have kept it on the sign which still hangs above our shop.”
Piazza San Fedele, 2 (entrance from via T. Marino)
T: +39 02 86464642-1875
M1 (red line) and M3 (yellow line) Duomo