Manutius at the Marciana

On day three of our Italian journey we headed into the centre of Venice to meet with colleagues from the Biblioteca Marciana that stands in the Piazza San Marco under the shadow of the towering campanile.

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Through the kind introduction of Neil Harris we met with the Director, Dr. Maurizio Messina, the Head of Conservation, Silvia Pugliese, and Valeria Boscolo and Orsola Braides who are currently overseeing Project Rame, which includes digitisation of Aldine and parchment books held by the library.
Although Consul Smith’s parchment Aldines left Venice when George III purchased large parts of the English diplomat’s library (now in the BL as mentioned in our earlier ‘Regal Aldines’ blog post), a 1521 volume remains in the Marciana’s collection together with over 100 other parchment printed books.
Having explained the project and demonstrated the sampling technique we had a very useful discussion about collaborating and returning to Venice next year to participate in their own Aldus Anniversary celebrations.

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Prior to catching the train down to Rome we passed by the oldest existing paper and book binding shop in Venice which still hand prints sheets using antique woodblocks.

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We were sad to leave Venice behind but looking forward to travelling to another epicentre of parchment circulation, Roma.

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