Great Pen Stores - Europe - Italy
La Stilografica Di Ciarrocchi Francesco
Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 55
Tel 071 203377
Travelling along the east coast of Italy? I have been advised there is a very nice pen store to visit in Ancona. It is a tiny store with barely room for three people, but the store carries an excellent selection of high end pens, including Montblanc, Delta, Parker, and more. Looking for a good travel pen, they also carry items such as the Lamy Safari as a low end offering. The store is located on one of the main shopping streets just below the Piazza Roma. (Thanks J. Hubbard)
Corso Palestro 33 C
25122 Brescia - Italia
I have not been to Brescia, however, a reader has written me about Lazzaroni, an elegant pen store in Brescia. I am told that Maurizio Abrami and his wife are excellent pen retailers. They often create exclusive limited edition pens, often with Italy's Delta Pen.
I have Lazzaroni on my lists to visit the next time I am in Northern Italy. Thanks Dr. Rossetti.
via XX Settembre, 108/r
via XX settembre is a grand street, with endless arcades on both sides. This is where Genoa walks!
At 108 is Cartoleria Sanguineti, Casa Della Penna. They have been in operation since 1934. The store carries all the major lines that include Montblanc, Cartier, Dupont, Montegrappa, Parker, Waterman, Aurora... to name just some.
When I dropped by the store was packed, and I had to wait until I had a change to have a chance to talk with the Owner.
In addition to pens, the store stocks agendas, jounrals and pen cases.
Sanguineti also operates other stores in Genoa.
Boutique Piquadro is located at 113R via XX settembre and it has good selection of Piquadro leather products.
There is also a store at Central Commerciale Fuimara and it has a large selection typical of a carterlia. I did not get a chance to get to that location.
Casa della Penna
via Roma, 11
Located on via Roma -- one of the main shopping streets to walk -- this is a great pen store. Large pen cases line the walls, there is, as you would expect in Italy, a very good selection of Omas fountain pens, as well as all the other major brands. They have a reasonable selection of ink as well. In addition to pens there is an assortment of desk accessories to choose from.
On my September 2004 trip I had made a commitment this would be a trip where I would not buy a new pen. Too many other expenses in the year. I had been very firm on this, however, I did find myself breaking down as I looked at the rich assortment. A couple of bottles of ink where a cheap fix for the moment! The staff are friendly and they speak some English.
Corso Magenta 25
Tel: 02 86452444
I have always enjoyed visiting Milan. The city includes a number of pen stores. This one is a favourite and also a long standing establishment in Italy.
The company is run by the family. The company was started by Edgardo Erocolessi, the E.E. in the name of the company (E.E. Ercolessi) is for his wife, Elvira. The first store opened back around 1921 and there were two stores (the one on Corso Vittoria Emanuele was right downtown near the Cathedral That store is now closed with the store on Corso Magenta still operating.
Between the wars, Ercolessi also manufactured pens. They have recently produced a very collectable, a very expensive Limited Edition Pen. It is quite a splendid instrument. The personnel is always friendly and knowledgeable. Signora Ercolessi is very kind and goes at length in explaining the various products. Really a pen lover herself .(Thanks: Giovanni Abrate, Borris)
In June 2000 I paid another visit to this store. The scene in the store would make many North American pen stores shudder with envy. After viewing an extensive display of pens in the front window, I entered the store. There were customers standing 3 and 4 deep along the counters that run on three sides of the store. The staff of 5 or 6 were busy going at full speed. Behind the counters are larger wood cabinets that hold an extensive stock of pens. Its best to pick up one of the store's catalogues to help you unless you have very good Italian.
The staff bring pens for the customers to view either in large presentation boxes from the cabinets, or via the stock elevator that brings pens up from the basement. I tried the Aurora Primavera in green and sea blue but found the pens a bit light for my hand. Also, the store only had the pens in medium and fine, and I need at least a broad nib.
The Fountain Pen | La Stilografica
Corso Buenos Aires 53
It has been a number of year since I have been in Milan and now, based on the recommendations from a regular visitor of the site, here is a great pen store to visit.
The store is located on Corso Buenos Aires, and it would be about a half-hour walk from the Duomo, but when I looked it up on a map, it does appear to be on a metro line.
The store has been in operation for 30 years and when I looked at the lines carried (via their web site) they have quite the assortment. (Thanks Dr. Rossetti).
Via Roma, 68/70
Another store at:
Via Sperlinga, 14
Salvatore Chiazzese had previously sent me an e-mail about a number of good pen stores in Palermo. In June 2000, I visited a number of stores and enjoyed visiting Cartoleria Perna.
I met Antonio Perna who, with his father Settimo and his sister Rossana, operate Cartoleria Perna -- the store has been in business for over 40 years. The store, a cartoleria, has a full range of stationery and related items. While there is a selection of pens on display in the front of the store, make sure you visit the "pen room" located near the back of the stores to see the full selection. A wide range of pens and inks is available.
Antonio showed me a range of pens and he confirmed my findings from my trip so far that pen stores in Italy basically stock for the Italian market and that means fountain pens with fine and medium nibs. Some lines are available with a broad nib and Antonio was kind enough to call a distributor and an Aurora with a broad nib could be available the next day.
Going to Palermo? It is a beautiful city full of life and excitement, and Cartoleria Perna is a great store to visit.
In September 2003 I returned to Palermo, it is a city that you can't visit only once. I never realized the location of our hotel until we were there. It was right next to the pen store. Rossana helped me with a pen purchase. Still remains a good store with a solid selection of pens and inks.
Ask for help. There are lots of pens that you will not see in the window and counters.
Via Gagini, 59 and 39
It is not too often that I leave a pen store saying "good ridden's" but my experience at De Magistri's was frustrating. In June 2000 I visited a number of pen stores in Palermo, at number 39 you enter one of the most established stationery-type stores in Palermo. There is a moderate display case of pens. The real experience, however, is two doors down the street at number 59. At that location is a beautiful store that carries all the great lines of pens. You can only look in the window, a sign directs you to number 39 for access.
At number 39, however, I made the mistake of asking for a pen with an oblique or stub nib... of course there are none, and with that there was no need to take me to number 59. No matter how I asked, with my poor Italian, and all the hand language I could use, I could not get access to the store. Of well, it left me to make my purchase at another store.
If you can get access to number 59, from what I could see through the windows, it is a smartly furnished store that carries all the great lines of pens.
In September 2003 I tried again and this time had no problem getting into the "high-end pen" section. Limited section. Heavy on the Mont Blanc line.
Via Roma, 296-298
In June 2000 I stopped by Cartoleria Crisci, they have an impressive pen room with a good selection of Italian and European pens. There is not much I could think of that was not on display. The staff were friendly and offer lots assistance in showing pens.
El Cortes Ingles
This department store on the Plaza Catalunya has a good selection of of the big name brands as well as pen cases and desk accessories
Blu Office Store
Piazza La Lizza 13/17
53100 Siena, Italy
Tel 0577 41186
Pen stores in Siena are few, however, recently I was advised that Blue Office Store has a good selection of high-end fountain pens. (Thanks J. Hubbard)
18, Corso Porta Borsari
Verona is a wonderful town. On your trip to Italy don't just do the Florence, Rome thing, but get out and visit some of the other sights. Oh there is such a feel of history and romance in this town.
A lovely little pen store that is part of the Pineider chain of fine pen stores throughout Italy. Has a number of fine antique pens for viewing as well as all the grand lines of pen for sale. Staff is friendly although tutto Italanio! Recent visits to the store by others confirm that its a nice store with great staff. Bravo!