This historic shop, now recognised as a ‘Bottega Storica’, was founded in 1881 by Francesco Pettinaroli, when he moved to Milan from Lake Orta. It was immediately set up as a stationery shop with an adjoining typography and bookbinding workshop and soon became known to the Milanese, who were living in times of intense industrial development and were perhaps looking for such a shop in industrious Milan, right next to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the city’s modern and monumental ‘living room’, which had been completed only four years earlier.
Fine papers, accurate and elegant workmanship, classy items of stationery won over the Milanese, who since then and in the following 135 years of activity have never abandoned Pettinaroli, entrusting it with the printing of all their most important events: births, communions, weddings. Here they created invitations, commercial and private stationery, business cards of all kinds executed with the finest printing techniques.
In 1883, two years after its foundation, the shop moved from Via San Raffaele to Via Santa Radegonda. The shop would remain here until 1959, when it moved to the nearby premises in Piazza San Fedele at the corner of Via Marino, without losing sight of what is the symbol of Milan: the highest spire of the Duomo with its Madonnina, therefore: ‘for more than a hundred years in the shadow of the Madonnina’.
The Duomo on one side, the temple of opera on the other, the workshop has accompanied La Scala’s triumphs step by step: in 1887, Giuseppe Verdi once again amazed the world with the first performance of Otello, a then very young cellist, Arturo Toscanini, played in the orchestra, while Giacomo Puccini, who had already been Milanese for a few years, was preparing to experience his first La Scala triumphs.
The year 2017 marks a new and renewed chapter for the historic workshop, which, with undisguised melancholy, has to move out of the shadow of the Duomo. It is to be located, however, without too many regrets, in the artistic heart of the city, a few hundred metres further on, in the elegant Via Brera, the axis of a culturally lively district, where the Pinacoteca, Biblioteca Braidense and Accademia di Belle Arti are home to artists and intellectuals. Pettinaroli thus once again re-establishes the desire to signal its artistic/artisan tradition.
We are now in the fourth generation, and the fact that the shop has always remained in the family has ensured that it has not been distorted: everyone has put their own spin on it, continuing the previous work and cultivating personal passions. So there are those who have done more research in the field of typography, those who have found skilled craftsmen to produce exclusive articles, those who have discovered small but well-kept paper mills, and finally those who have developed a taste and passion for antique prints. Maps from all over the world, city views and the ‘pearl’ of mountain prints make our shop an important reference point for all enthusiasts of this fascinating sector, and Francesco has long since become one of the leading experts in the national field, actively participating in specialised exhibitions all over Europe.
A constant and a priority over all these years has always been the search for, production and sale of valuable articles exclusively ‘made in Italy’ and the enhancement of the Italian artisan tradition, something of which we are particularly proud.
Today it is Francesco who, assisted by specialised and competent staff, runs the company, always putting in the enthusiasm that has distinguished this shop for over one hundred and thirty years.