Luciano Mateacci: The Typesetter of Cagli


by Mackenzie Yates

The daily bustle of Cagli, Italy, revolves around the piazza, a central point tucked between caffè and City Hall. Away from the rush, down an undisturbed street, sits a small storefront with no business sign. It is a gem of a shop that could easily be passed by. Stepping into this quiet storefront is like traveling back in time.Luciano typesetting

The tall, lean Luciano Mateacci hovers over an enormous worktable. The sound of paper being cut slices the air. Every space in the room holds tall stacks of documents, shelves with random tools and giant pieces of machinery. His table is covered with pencils, rulers and papers. Luciano is a busy man.

The Tipografia Battistelli, a printing business, is one of the oldest printing presses in Italy, Luciano says. Luciano worked with owner Gianbattista Battistelli for 38 years before Gianbattista passed away from a heart attack. The business is now owned by Gianbattista’s family.

Luciano works quickly, efficiently cutting and folding stacks of event flyers for the city of Pergola. Beside him sit boxes containing small, rubber-banded piles of business cards for a carwash in Acqualagna. Luciano is nonchalant about his intense work. “My parents told me to get a job, so I did,” he says. Music was one of Luciano’s greatest passions but with family encouragement, he took on a full-time position at the printing press. He worked as an apprentice under Gianbattista for three years.

Against the far wall, cans of paint line a shelf.  A cabinet along the back wall holds drawers upon drawers of metal letters. Luciano’s hands fly as he moves the papers through the cutter. People’s hands often tell a story, and Luciano’s are speckled with several paint colors as well as ink. These hands tell of a man who has always worked with his hands. These hands have created beautiful, unforgettable memories.

Luciano says that, in crafting announcements and flyers, he follows people through all the stages of life. The store is scattered with boxes of birth, baptismal, wedding and funeral announcements awaiting pickup.

The corner of the shop holds a 100-year-old, traditional, Gutenberg-style, original Heidelberg printing press. Built by German craftsmen, this classic machine can print, imprint, number, perforate, punch, slit, emboss, score and hot-foil stamp. The Heidelberg exudes strength and efficiency. Letter dies

Upstairs from the press, a computer team creates announcements that contain more colors, complicated patterns and tighter deadlines. If a customer needs a flyer or announcement in a short time period, that project is sent upstairs. “People want this stuff yesterday,” says Luciano about the ever-growing demands of consumers.

Luciano says he is the last person in town to have learned the trade of printmaking. “The use of these machines is dwindling,” he says. Unfortunately, technicians don’t know how to work on an old printing press. The knowledge no longer exists, he says, conceding that he works in a trade that is nearing extinction.

Luciano has an 18-year-old daughter who attends school to learn computers. She has studied English in her travels through London, Denmark and Germany. She will not be continuing the printing press trade when he retires in two years, Luciano says.

Luciano keeps busy outside his work at the printing press. He loves soccer and works part-time as a massage therapist for the Cagli soccer team. Since childhood, his nickname was Sívori after the famous Italian soccer player Omar Sívori.

Luciano still pursues his passion for music. He plays trombone in the Cagli city band, which will hold a concert in the piazza this July. Jazz is his favorite genre. “I can go full out,” he says.




pix pix pix pix pix pix

Archives Explore our past stories

Contact Us

To find out more information about how
you can participate or support the Cagli project, contact:

Name: Shannon Zaranski
Phone:+1 509 - 313 - 3569
Director: Dr. John Caputo