My first trip to Bassano del Grappa was many years ago, for the sole purpose of visiting and touring Montegrappa. Nothing can top that experience, which has influenced my thoughts about the Italian pen brand ever since. I saw state-of-the-art CAD systems coexisting with hand-rendered pen components, vintage celluloid writing instruments housed adjacent to modern models, and perhaps most importantly, I witnessed the enthusiasm of each artisan who contributed to the making of a pen. Every stop hit home the influence of Montegrappa’s memorable past in shaping its future, both in its philosophy and its products.
I have made subsequent visits to the historic building on Via Cà Erizzo, which has housed the company since 1912. I once even hopped off a cruise ship to motor alone to the manufactory for a quick visit and lunch, making it back just in time to sail that evening. I’m not sure I’d try that again, but it was a great adventure.
I think it’s time for another visit.
Montegrappa is formally opening its doors to visitors via the Montegrappa Experience, a new opportunity for pen and history fans that promises an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the company and its pens.
“Our first tours [which began in May] have been very positively received, especially after so much time spent apart,” says Montegrappa CEO Giuseppe Aquila, referencing the pent-up pandemic-driven demand for life—and travel—as usual.
The 1.5-hour tour, in Italian or English, happens every Wednesday by prior reservation. Stops include the Pen Atelier, Montegrappa’s Private Museum (where visitors may peruse pens through the ages along with a comprehensive selection of limited editions), and the boutique with a Configurator studio, selfie station and full selection of current products.
“The Atelier section of our tour is very special,” Aquila explains, “allowing guests to see the tremendous skill and effort that goes into these tiny works of art. Naturally, though, I am proud of every part of the tour and the work that has gone into making it a reality.”
The Private Museum is also very popular, he says, with many visitors “almost overwhelmed by the number of pens on display.” As an aside, he shares, “With vintage reissues becoming more popular, it has been fascinating for us to learn which ideas resonate and why.” Visitors are treated to a selection of vintage pieces including safety fountain pens from 1912, celluloid fountain pens from the 1930s and oversized pens from the 1950s.
“For years we have gone to great lengths to emphasize the human element behind our pens,” Aquila concludes. “The Montegrappa Experience gives guests the opportunity to see it for themselves.”
The cost of the tour is about that of a bottle of ink, and it may be recouped via a voucher available for use at the on-site flagship boutique.
And don’t forget to save some time to tour the picturesque Bassano del Grappa on the banks of the River Brenta, which is a destination all its own. Rich history, outstanding architecture and great food will vie for attention—after the pens, of course.