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History

On 23 November 1927, in the office of Notary Reggiori in Via San Martino in Varese, Pietro Giuseppe Redaelli founded the company “La Tipografica Varese”. That signature over ninety years ago marked the start of a business that continues to this day and has been growing for decades.
Local first, regional during the war, national in the 1950s, European since the 1990s and lastly global in the new millennium. The finest names in publishing have got their books printed in Varese.

Over time we have moved and grown and new people have joined our team. Like all businesses, we have been through good times and bad times. But we have always had the strength and ability to move on, also thanks to the dedication of the three generations of the Redaelli family who have succeeded the founder of La Tipografica Varese.

We have experienced different technological revolutions: from litho printing to mobile typography, from linotype to digital phototypesetting. Our story is closely linked to innovation: we never missed a chance to try out new technologies, start up different productive processes, discuss our needs with engineers and designers.

Our facility has adopted all the most evolved systems to diversify the service, offer a top quality product, meet – and often anticipate – the needs of our customers.

1927
1927

The first book

The first book

The first book that we found mentioned in our records is a novel published by Corbaccio: The last Bohemian (Az utolsó bohém) by Jenő Helati. This Hungarian writer lived from 1871 and 1957 according to the Treccani encyclopaedia and wrote in a light elegant vein between the ironic and the sentimental. He wrote a large number of poems, novels, short stories and plays, including Az utolsó bohém (“The last Bohemian”), in 1911.

1928
1928

With lead for movable characters

With lead for movable characters

Gutenberg’s idea of making individual movable lead characters and no longer having to mark a complete page made the art of printing a productive process. The possibility of being able to rapidly set and unset a text gave a winning impulse to communication through the printed word. La Tipografica Varese gave voice to this new mass communication need by installing the first planocylindrical printing presses.

1929
1929

Always for Mondadori

Always for Mondadori

Three masterpieces of the great playwright and actor Carlo Goldoni were reprinted in Commedie e Scene: La Locandiera, I Rusteghi and Il ventaglio. The work contains some of the most amusing and lively scenes in Goldoni’s plays and was published in Italy by Mondadori. Today, as in 1929, we still work with this major and acclaimed Italian publisher.

1930
1930

A company that serves the local area

A company that serves the local area

A guide that accompanies the reader on a journey of discovery of the fascinating and rich Varese area. “Varese e la sua provincia” (“The town and province of Varese”) by Giannetto Dongiovanni and Mario Rivoire was the first local guide with a colour cover to be published and printed by La Tipografica Varese. A tribute to the “garden city” whose name we share.

1937
1937

Eighty years of reprints of the Divine Comedy

Eighty years of reprints of the Divine Comedy

Since 1937, La Tipografica Varese has been reprinting the Divine Comedy, an allegorical didactic poem written in terza rima verse in the Italian of Florence that was written between 1306/07 and 1321. This masterpiece of Dante Alighieri is universally thought to be one of the greatest literary works of all time and one of the most important documents on medieval civilization, so much so that it is known and studied throughout the world.

1938
1938

School books, school books, school books!

School books, school books, school books!

School books have been a decisive and constant part of the La Tipografica Varese mission since the 1930s. We calculate that over half of Italian school children have held a book printed by us. The school books have also gone outside Italy as far as France and Africa.

1938

Partnership with the Railways

Partnership with the Railways

In 1928, La Tipografica Varese started an important relationship with the Ferrovie dello Stato (Italian State Railways), the most important Italian railway company. It started in the 1930s with official documents and then continued with the printing of the official timetable, which continued to be printed on our rotary presses until it was produced only electronically. The partnership with the Italian State Railways has marked our history.

1950
1950

Why look for characters when you can typeset the whole page?

Why look for characters when you can typeset the whole page?

The printer no longer has to fumble around for the individual characters in the type case. He just types the text as if he were typing on a normal typewriter. The linotype automatically justifies the line of type and transforms it into a line of lead that is ready for typesetting on the page. Setting a book becomes fast and productive! The biggest Italian publishers found a partner they could count on.

1957
1957

We beat the censors

We beat the censors

The first country to publish Dr Zhivago was Italy, where Feltrinelli brought it out in 1957, beating rival American and French publishers with this global best seller. The novel by Boris Leonidovič Pasternak was his only work but earned him the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature. Within just one year it went through 31 editions. The first copy? It came off La Tipografica Varese’s rotary presses.

1958
1958

An important first

An important first

The Leopard was an international literary phenomenon. It was Feltrinelli that sensed its potential whereas the Italian publishing houses Mondadori and Einaudi made the huge mistake of rejecting it. Giorgio Bassani, who was Feltrinelli’s fiction editor at the time, appreciated its value. In 1959, it won the Strega prize and became the first Italian best seller to sell over 100 thousand copies.

1959
1959

Also magazines

Also magazines

La Tipografica Varese is not just books. For over twenty years we printed “Sipario”, a completely Italian success story. The monthly magazine dedicated to the theatre, ballet, opera, cinema, set design, television and the visual arts was founded in Genoa in 1946 by Gian Maria Guglielmino and Ivo Chiesa. In 1947, it was taken over by the publisher Bompiani and from 1959 until it ceased publication it was printed by us.

1964
1964

Banned in schools!

Banned in schools!

A truly ground-breaking book written by Gabriella Parca, the first work to address the social issues of differences between the sexes, and the female condition in Italy. The third edition published by Parenti in 1960 included a fine introduction by Pier Paolo Pasolini. La Tipografica Varese printed this book, which was banned in all Italian schools at the time.

1970
1970

Lithography for “flat” print

Lithography for “flat” print

The second real revolution in printing was lithography. This new technique exploits the mutual repulsion between water and fats, a concept that has been well known since antiquity. Lithography (from the Greek lìthos, “stone” and gràphein, “write”) is based on the use of a flat matrix: image and non-image are on the same level. The first matrices were very heavy limestone plates.

1971
1971

An offer that we couldn’t refuse

An offer that we couldn’t refuse

Right from the year it was published, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather was an extraordinary publishing success not only in the United States but also in the UK, Germany, France and Italy. Don Vito, with all the vicissitudes of this mafia family of Italian origin, arrived in our print shop for the first Italian edition published by Dall’Oglio, and he has been with us ever since. Even today, every reprint still rolls off the printing presses at La Tipografica Varese.

1973
1973

Forty years of the Lombardy Region

Forty years of the Lombardy Region

From 1973, La Tipografica Varese printed the Official Gazette of the Lombardy Region, the official institutional organ of the regional administration. Until digitalization, for forty years, our rotary presses were entrusted with printing the decisions of the Region’s cabinet and government but also administrative documents, directives of local bodies, and notices of tenders and competitive examinations.

1978
1978

The first court case

The first court case

It was March 1978 when Feltrinelli published “Giovanni Leone, a presidential career”. This gem is now impossible to find but it went through 24 editions and sold seven hundred thousand copies, but after being found guilty by all courts from the lowest to the highest, the pages were condemned to the incinerator and the Leone family received compensation amounting to 600 million lire in the old money. But La Tipografica Varese came through unscathed because the printer is not responsible for checking content.

1982
1982

The first electronic steps

The first electronic steps

Breaking down the photographic image into 4 channels (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) by special scanners enables any chromatic effect to be reproduced in print. In order to rise to the challenge of an increasingly demanding market, La Tipografica Varese increased its set of machines, acquiring new machines for four-colour printing, including 2 Timson rotary presses, and 1 Kba 8-colour press for front and back printing.

1983
1983

A generation of dreamers

A generation of dreamers

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea or From the Earth to the Moon are two of the 54 novels that make up the Amazing Journeys (Voyages extraordinaires) sequence of novels written by the French author Jules Verne in the late nineteenth century. These stories combine fantasy elements and fictionalized realistic elements that have accompanied and still accompany the adventure journeys of the young. In the 1980s, La Tipografica Varese printed the books with the original covers by Jules Hetzel for the Italian publisher Mursia.

1990
1990

Plates made their appearance!

Plates made their appearance!

Print matrices got so thin that they became thin plates that could be fitted to the cylinders. Lithography becomes offset printing, indirect printing that is based on the transfer of the graphic from the inked plate to a rubber cylinder and lastly to paper. This process is still the most widely process in the world, both for sheet and web printing.

1994
1994

A million copies? Easy!

A million copies? Easy!

“Va’ dove ti porta il cuore” (Go where the heart takes you) written by Susanna Tamaro and published by Baldini e Castoldi was the big best seller of the 1990s and in 2011 it became one of the 150 “Great Books” that have made their mark on the history of Italy. The long letter, the form which the old lady in the novel uses to make a confession about the family that is written for her granddaughter, enthralled and moved 16 million readers throughout the world. Our record? A million copies in just a few days.

1994

Stitching with cotton, just like once upon a time.

Stitching with cotton, just like once upon a time.

Fine books of photographs, administrative codes, religious books, all distinguished by great attention to quality. The thread stitching and the paperboard finish ensure the durability of these products and give them the distinction and elegance that set them apart. At La Tipografica Varese, the two automatic stitching lines with on-line collection combine high tech and quality.

2000
2000

The “most trusted dictionary in the world”

The “most trusted dictionary in the world”

At 600,000 words, 3 million quotations and over 1000 years of English, the Oxford English Dictionary is a monumental work. The historic dictionary of old and modern English published by Oxford University Press is the “most revered” in the world. With this imprint, La Tipografica Varese entered the UK market.

2006
2006

The last time of the dictionary in the cinema… in just one volume!

The last time of the dictionary in the cinema… in just one volume!

This is a must have item for all cinema buffs. But the encyclopaedic dictionary of the cinema edited by the critic Paolo Mereghetti and published by Baldini & Castoldi Dalai and printed on our rotary printing presses beat another record. The 2006 edition of the 8.2 centimetre high Mereghetti film dictionary is the thickest book that has ever been printed industrially.

2008
2008

Glues for all purposes … and climates!

Glues for all purposes … and climates!

The business world required a wide range of products and ever shorter lead times. La Tipografica Varese responded with three softbound lines with automatic loading and optical reading of the signature marks. Judicious use of different glues ensured the production of milled, notch bound and ota-bind volumes, from the smallest size pocket dictionaries to tabloid sizes

2015
2015

We landed in Africa

We landed in Africa

Gabon is a country in Central Africa on the equator. For this vast continent that is developing and has interesting growth prospects, La Tipografica Varese started to print the Yellow Pages for the first time.