Visiting Paolo Olbi’s workshop means touring the 17th century Zenobio palace and its fabulous garden. The space houses a typography studio and a bindery showcasing the making of Paolo’s products, with tools and machines that he’s collected in over 60 years as a bookbinding master. The machines, while still in use, outline the evolution of this ancient craft much like in a museum: from a book sewing machine to a blocking press and a “battidorsi”. Paolo decorates his items using unique moulds pressed by ancient printing press on fine paper, leather or textiles, with heat, gold or high pigmented colours.
Travelling through artistic bookbindingIn 1962, artistic bookbinder Paolo Olbi began his journey as an artisan in the world of bookbinding, an ancient craft passed down through generations and developed over the centuries since the time of Aldo Manuzio, the father of modern pocket books. Using antique machines, special techniques and high-quality materials, Paolo and his employees cover books and objects with hand printed paper, fine fabrics and hot stamped vegetable tanned leather with designs inspired by everything from Liberty prints to Byzantine patterns and classical Italian style. Items are decorated using unique moulds that are pressed with an ancient printing press on fine paper, leather or textiles with heat, gold or high pigmented colours. Frequent collaborations with local marble, silver and glass artisans result in unique artistic book bindings which are showcased alongside important artefacts in their gallery. From diaries, notebooks and boxes to folders, photo albums and document holders – Paolo Olbi Venezia does it all.
A free audio guide, available to stream from 10 April to 1 May, will enhance your experience of Homo Faber in Citta. Discover more about Venice, its crafts workshops and its heritage as a city of craftsmanship, to complement your personal tour.Listen
Please stay informed about the latest Covid safety requirements in Venice and comply with any requests from the venues you visit, to ensure the safety of yourself and the participating artisans.
Make sure you arrive on time at each venue (although no more than ten minutes early), to make the most of your experience and the artisan’s time. Please call the venue ahead of time if you are likely to be late.
Please let us know if you wish to cancel your booking so that we may offer the opportunity to another visitor. Cancel or rebook directly on your account or via your confirmation or reminder email. If cancelling on the day of your event, kindly inform the venue by telephone.