Bookbinder Paolo Olbi is one of Venice’s last great artisans. He has two lovely shops on Campo Santa Maria Nova and Calle della Mandola where he sells his beautiful handmade note pads, address books, photo albums, stationery, and business cards. If you don’t find Paolo at work in the backroom, embossing patterns into the leather covers of notebooks, he’s probably at his atmospheric workshop in the Castello, with his typesetter Beppi, where he welcomes interested visitors. We visited one Saturday morning, and he spent a couple of hours taking us through the fascinating process, from how they create the wood plates for the book-covers, inspired by old Venetian designs, to binding the books by hand. I already purchased half a dozen notebooks to give to friends, but he gave us a money-holder as a gift and took us for a glass of wine at the local bar to thank us for our interest. That’s Venetians for you!
Calle della Mandola, San Marco 3653, Venice: +39(0)41 528 5025
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