From the Roman Empire to the Renaissance: a journey through historical lettering still in use today.

Uppercase and lowercase, from the capital letters of the Roman imperial age, to the Italic lettering of the 1500s, passing from the Carolingian minuscule of the time of Charlemagne to the humanist minuscule of the scribes and first typographical designers of the Renaissance.


Type of course: Group
Participants: Min 6 / Max 12
Beginning/end of the course: to be defined
Attendance: Friday/Saturday
Lenght: 8 lessons on Fridays and 8 lessons on Saturdays
Cost: 1500,00 euro (including VAT and materials) to be paid all together
Deadline to enroll: to be defined
Language: Italian
Lecturer: Monica Dengo
Assistants: Maria Pia Montagna/Caterina Giannotti
Location: Via Benaco, 2 – Rome


Fridays: 5 pm – 8 pm
Saturdays: 10 am – 1 pm


To be defined.


Goals: A journey through the historical lettering that we can still recognize in the press today to deepen the students’ knowledge about them and practice and experience the enormous potential of handwriting.

Lesson 1: Presentation of the course. From the Roman Empire to the Renaissance, historical evolution of Latin forms. Carolina lettering and its simplified form (Foundational) – general characteristics (inclination of the nib, body of the letters, number and direction of strokes for each letter, the structure of the arch, serif).

The square tip pen, characteristics of the sign.

Lesson 2: Carolingian minuscule lettering – words related to the text
Spacing between letters, words and lines.
Relationship between letter body and line length.
Write with a smaller nib.

Lesson 3: Design of a double page of text: the “golden rules”.
Design a manuscript in Carolingian minuscule writing and realization of the draft.

Lesson 4: Humanist minuscule writing – Historical notes and general characteristics (inclination of the nib, body of the letters, ductus, serif).

Lesson 1: Introduction of chancery hand (Italic), historical notes and examples in history taken from 16th century manuals.
Rhythm, pressure and spacing (pencil).
Shape and ductus of the unattached letters (pencils and markers).
Introduction of ligatures and bound letters (pencils and markers).
Words and phrases.

Lesson 2: Resuming letters with a pencil.
Letters, words and phrases.
Introduction of the nib (Brause n.3 / 4).
The loose letters.
The linked letters.
Words and phrases.
Double page manuscript design and Italic lettering exercises for the manuscript/prototype.

Lesson 1: Capital letters – examples of Roman capital letters (Trajan’s Column, Pantheon, etc.).
The fundamental structure of the Roman Capitals – mono-linear letters (pencil).
Italic lettering exercises for the manuscript.
Lesson 2: Capital letters and spacing (thin black marker).
Manuscript completion: title, colophon and binding.

LECTURER: Monica Dengo
Artist, calligrapher, designer, she has taught in many institutions including the Academy of Art University of San Francisco, the Ca ‘Foscari University of Venice and the ISIA of Urbino, of which she is currently a lecturer. She has exhibited her work in many parts of the world and won an award as an international artist at the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial (UAE) in 2014. She holds an annual three-level calligraphy course for the International Calligraphic Arts Center in Venice and collaborates periodically with the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice. Her Pick Up your Pen manual has been published in Canada, Italy, France and Estonia. Leave the Mark, published in 2017 in Italy by Terre di Mezzo Editore, is her latest book.

ASSISTENTS: Maria Pia Montagna
Graduated in Literature with a thesis in the historical-artistic field, she has been following Monica Dengo’s historical and experimental calligraphy seminars for some time now. She currently supports her in teaching the 1st level annual course, started in 2013 in Venice and participates in the implementation and dissemination of her educational project. She is ab online tutor for the ‘SMED’ Masterclass, at the Intercultural Communication Department of the Cà Foscari University of Venice. She is a founding member of SMED – Writing by Hand in the Digital Era.

Caterina Giannotti
Trained architect and graphic designer, for many years she has been studying, researching and training with Monica Dengo (calligrapher and artist) in both historical and experimental calligraphy; In this field she also carries out an in-depth activity that is accompanied by a constant commitment to the dissemination of handwriting and the values it bears.

She is an online tutor for the ‘SMED’ Masterclass, at the Intercultural Communication Department of the Cà Foscari University of Venice.

She is a founding member of SMED – Writing by Hand in the Digital Era.


Lesson days and times will be established by the lecturer and the student during the course presentation meeting (participation in the presentation meeting does not in any way oblige the person to enroll in the course).


RUFA students: 10%.
University students: 5% (upon presentation of the university registration booklet).
Course package: If you have signed up for two or more courses, you are eligible for a 10% reduction on any courses purchased after the first one.
* The early bird formula cannot be combined with other discounts promoted.

At the end of the course, upon request, a certificate of attendance will be issued after attending at least 40 hours of classes.

INFO & REGISTRATION: | +39 06.85865917 | +39 06.85355862