I romani di Francesco Griffo
The Roman characters of Francesco Griffo

Published on Bibliologia 7, 2012. In Italian.

This short essay is a report of an ongoing research that follows studies by Giovanni Mardersteig who was the first to attribute some twelve roman types to the punchcutter Francesco Griffo – known by his contemporaries as ‘Francesco da Bologna’ (ca. 1450-1518?). Mardersteig published some essays on Griffo but he never made a complete study, although, together with Stanley Morison, this was his intention.


Pietro Bembo, De Aetna, printed by Aldus Manutius, Venice 1496.


My research, which is still in progress, involves cataloguing these romans and checking the reliability of Mardersteig’s attributions. Large format macro images of the letters greatly facilitate analysis and comparison.



The essay is illustrated with some examples of macro analysis, focusing on the first three romans which (according to Mardersteig) Griffo cut in the 1470s and 1480s. The analysis reveals that the third of these – used for a while by Johannes De Gregoriis – was actually a new casting of Nicholas Jenson’s Eusebius roman, cut before 1470 and the most fashionable typeface of the 15th century.

The pdf of the essay published on Bibliologia 7, 2012, in Italian.

The essay has been translated into English and it will be published soon.