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Typography and Printing in Italy

Typography and Printing in Italy
Multiple locations, Italy
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Design--Illustration & Animation
Design--Industrial Design
Design--Photo Media
Design--Visual Communication Design
Graduate Courses
Program Type: 
Fulfills KU Core 4.2
Faculty Led
  • Spend three weeks in Italy making stops in Venice, Cornuda (a small Italian town off the beaten track with a world-renowned typography and printing museum),Milan, Turin and Florence.
  • Design and print a chapbook on the cast iron handpress with Lucio Passerini at Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione.
  • An international capital of design and fashion with its epicenter near the cathedral and galleria, we will discover Milan in and outside of museums and shops.
  • Explore inscriptions in Milan’s Monumental Cemetery accompanied by James.
  • Visit the magnificent collections of the Galleria degli Uffizi and Academia in Florence, cradle of the Renaissance.
  • Bind personal memory books at the Florence School of Art with Melania Lanzini.
Program Summary: 

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 the 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 Florence School of Art.

Depart U.S.: Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Arrive in Venice: Thursday, May 19, 2022
Depart Florence: Monday, June 6, 2022


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.

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.

Milan, Italy (4 days)

Milan, the capital of fashion, design and culture is next on our journey across and down the Italian peninsula. We will explore the National Design Triennalethe Studio Museum of Achille Castiglione, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, Duomo, and Leonardo’s Last Supper. James Clough will lead us on a tour of the most interesting inscriptions and public type in the city at the Cimetero Monumentale.

Turin, Italy (2 days)

Turin, Torino in Italian, known as the Capitale delle Alpi (Capital of the Alps) is located on the western bank of the Po River and surrounded by the western Alpine arch. It is a beautiful, architecturally and culturally rich city, rivaling Milan in its contributions to contemporary design. There, we will visit Archivio Tipografico, a collaborative working space, where a new generation of printers, typographers and designers meet to develop artistic and commercial printing projects. Turin also hosts the finest Egyptian museum outside of Cairo. 

Florence, Italy (6 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. Each student will create memory books at the Florence School of Art with Melania Lanzini

Academic Information: 

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 inscriptions and public type with James Clough 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.


Participants will stay in centrally located hostel or 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 university students from any accredited U.S. college or university. Minimum 2.5 GPA required (exceptions considered after submission of a petition).

Further Reading: 

For more information contact:

Lecturer in VISC: Linda Samson Talleur
365 Chalmers Hall
Associate Professor Andrea Herstowski
354 Chalmers Hall
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.

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