The Pliniana typography was founded in 1913 in the Selci-Lama area, between Città di Castello and San Giustino at the initiative of two priests, Don Ruggero Fiordelli, Selci parish, and Don Enrico Giovagnoli, director of the Leonardo da Vinci Typography in Città di Castello and linked to Don Ruggero through a deep friendship and respect. Its first name was Società Anonima Cooperativa Tipografica Pliniana, an evident reminder to the historic figure and Roman magistrate Plinio il Giovane who owned a villa in the vicinity of San Giustino, the remains of which are still visible at the excavation site of colle Plinio and the Villa Graziani museum.
Initially born as a subsidiary of the da Vinci branch in Città di Castello, the Pliniana was then called Società Anonima Tipografica Pliniana, and, finally, in 1943 Stabilimento Tipografico Pliniana. It gradually became independently part of the category of the other editorial typographers that at the time operated in the Alta Valle del Tevere area, such as Scipione Lapi, Unione Arti Grafiche, Leonardo da Vinci and Grifani Donati typographers, founded at the end of the eighteenth century.
The typography is housed in the premises once occupied by the lemon grove of Villa Croci, the residence that is located a few metres away. Despite the activity of the typography establishment continuing, keeping in line with the modern printing technique, the Pliniana has never forgotten the old machinery and, in fact, it has kept them and exhibit them in the premises intended to house the museum. Once inside the museum, the smell of the ink, the noise of the machines and the giant posters on the walls seem to evoke the memory of the past. The old machinery has remained there where it stood, as if everything has stopped in the 1990s when the typography had interrupted the production to switch to more modern and avantgarde printing systems. Amongst the old typographic machines, a special place has been reserved for two machines, still perfectly functioning, that together with the capabilities of the typographers have made the history of the typography: a Monotype keyboard, a 1955 Monotype casting machine manufactured in England, a Linotype manufactured in Milan at the Meta workshops, with a related collection of matrixes and precision instruments to measure the characters. Amongst the other machines present there is also a Mussano & Sisto typographic printing machine, a hole punch with which they prepared the postal bills, a bronze wire cutter and a proofer, the Super Unigraf cylindrical plane printing machine and the Leonis Folding Machine.
Thanks to the willingness of the image setters, by now retired, it is possible to book a special visit to see these machines regain life and listen to the tale of those who worked in an antique Umbrian typography.
Since 2011 the Stabilimento Tipografico “Pliniana” has participated in the Sistema Museale dell’Umbria and since 2013 is part of Aimsc – Associazione Italiana Musei della Stampa e della Carta ((Italian Association of Print and Paper). During the hundred years of uninterrupted activity, the Pliniana has seen more than 2000 print titles from its typographic machines and works for publishing houses of national and international relevance such as Zanichelli, Olschki, Jouvence, Cedam and for universities and public and cultural institutions of notable significance such as the Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, the SISMEL Editions of Galluzzo, the Deputazione di Storia Patria per l’Umbria, the Centro Storico Benedettino Italiano, the Padova Episcopal Curia and the l’Archivio Segreto Vaticano.
Tipografi, librai, illustratori: uno sguardo alle arti editoriali, a cura di Giovanna Zaganelli, San Giustino – Selci 2014;
Stabilimento Tipografico Pliniana dal 1913 oltre un secolo di stampa, a cura di Francesca Meocci e Michela Meozzi, San Giustino – Selci, 2013;
Alvaro Tacchini, La stampa a Città di Castello: tipografie e tipografi dal 1538 ad oggi, Città di Castello 1987;
Angelo Falchi e Angelo Marinelli, La stampa a Città di castello dal “magister” Mazzocchi (1538) a Scipione Lapi (1875), Città di Castello, 1909.
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