The two just seem to go together so well. I am a big fan of Italian fountain pens because of the Italian Style. When it comes to pen stores, major Italian cities have more than one, and even little towns have stores that well pens. It is pretty hard to walk around in Italy and not see a store that sells pens.
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, 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.
I have Lazzaroni on my lists to visit the next time I am in Northern Italy. Thanks Dr. Rossetti.
Bergamo is a stunning city. We had been there over 20 years ago and always wanted to return. We did and on this visit found:
via S. Orscia, 19 / A
24122 Bergamo, Italy
Web Site: www.casadellapennadiel-sa.com
Bergamo, located near Milan, is an Italian treasure. It is in Italy, so like many Italian cities, Cassa della Penna, like many stores, are closed on Monday mornings. It was relatively easy to find. There is the upper town with the old historic centre, and the lower town which many would think is also historic, but it is of course much newer. Cassa della Penna is in the lower town. We walked over along Sentierone and then Piazza Giacomo Matteotti and via XX Settembre and via Sant'Orsola runs into XX Settembre.
The store started in 1952 and carries pens as well as leather goods for desk and personal use.
So my wife and I were there as they opened the store and we had a visit with store owner Marco Val Secchi. He told us this is a family business. It is a large elegant store with large show cases along the walls and pen counters. The large space makes it very comfortable to walk about and admire the wide selection of pens. Casa della Penna carries all the main lines, including Montblanc.
As with pen stores in North America, Marco told me that students are showing strong interest in pens and writing. His customers are primary those living in Bergamo with pens being purchased for personal use or gifts. The store is well known, so there are tourists from Italy who frequent the store.
via XX Settembre, 108/r
I tell travellers who do not stop in Genoa about what a beautiful city they are missing. There are grand streets, beautiful architecture and just a good feel the city.
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 and based on the crowd I saw on my visit, should be continuing for a number of years to come.
The store carries all the major lines of pens that include Montblanc, Cartier, Dupont, Montegrappa, Parker, Waterman, Aurora. It is a Cartoleria, so there is also paper, refiils, economical pens and high-end.
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. This is a really good sign for a pen store!
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.
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.
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 Torino, 77
This is a very small store that one of the readers of my site has written and advised this is a store to visit. I did a Google search and yes indeed, small. In fact, only the name "Brunori" with a nib logo will tip you off that this is a pen store. While no english spoken the owner is one of those great shop owners who just tries so hard to connect with you. The store has a good selection of new fountain pens, mainly the Italian brands. He showssome his own vintage pen collection.
In the photo, it is the very small store on the right.
Located towards the end of Via Torino, proceeding towards the columns of San Lorenzo, this small shop has good reviews and the passion of the owner comes across loud and clear. I will have to get back to Milan.
Brunori has a Google+ page.
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
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)
via Mazzini, 5
Galleria Mazzini, 1/a
On our 2016 visit to Verona we came across Manella Pen and had a great visit with the owner, Rudi Manella.
There are actually two stores, and the store probably seen by most is the small shop located on the pedestrian street, via Mazzini. If you are walking up from the Verona Arena, then it is a fair way down the street. The store is located about 1 1/2 blocks down from via Cappello.
The second shop is just down the street and part of the a passage of stores. It is a much larger store with wall and floor showcases for the pens and pen accessories.
While the Mazzini Street store is very small, don't let that fool you. There is a good selection of pens, and meeting Rudi is one of those opportunities you do not want to miss. He is a real pen enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge of pens and the pen business.
Rudi told my wife Karen and I the store has been in business since 1940. His father started the company and was involved with both making and selling pens. Now, Rudi just sells pens.
Manella carries pens of the important brands in both regular and limited editions and he has pens that cover a wide price range. As with any good Italian pen store, if you do not see the pen you are considering, just ask.
We had a long talk, and Rudi not only talked about the pens his store sells but his favorite pen. When I saw his pen, a well used pen, it really spoke to Rudi's passion for pens.
The store is open Monday to Saturday.
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!