In the rich and variegated panorama of the arts and crafts in Lombardy, the Pulcinoelefante publishing house, founded by Alberto Casiraghy in 1982, gleams like a little gem, hidden away in the beautiful province of Lecco. For over 30 years this extraordinary artist and craftsman, one of a kind, has been publishing his small books in Osnago, genuine and entirely handcrafted works of art, made with love, care and passion.
Artistic Print and Publishing
Alberto Casiraghy, born in 1952, comes from the world of music and high craftsmanship: a former luthier and lover of the violin, drawings and poetry, he worked for a long time in a printing establishment, learning the secrets of the trade, before setting up the Pulcinoelefante publishing house, whose delightful name (“chick-elephant”) and logo are based on a comical sketch of the fanciful animal that he made as a child.
Casiraghy still does his printing by hand, utilizing movable lead type and very fine Hahnemühle paper, produced in Germany for use by photographers, artists and art printers. Every year he publishes hundreds of booklets in a format of 13 x 20 cm, usually with eight pages carrying a text, which can be a short poem or even just a line of verse or a rhyme, a reflection, an aphorism, accompanied by small engravings or original drawings made by artists, including some very important ones. Among the authors we find many illustrious names, not all of them Italian: Campana, Gadda, Pasolini, Penna, Merini, Kafka, Cocteau... And among the artists Munari, Baj, Tadini, Paladino, Mainolfi, Parmiggiani, Isgrò, Nespolo...
Given the meticulous work and the precision with which they are produced personally by Casiraghy, right down to the printing and strictly hand-sewn binding, the run of these books-cum-jewels never exceeds 40 copies, all of them numbered. At his small workshop in Osnago the master is able to produce one or at the most two of them a day.
Small and rare productions, dreams on paper created with sensitivity, human warmth and a great deal of care by the loving hands of a publisher who is, first of all, a poet, philosopher, craftsman and artist: the unique and timeless story of Pulcinoelefante so enchanted the film director Silvio Soldini that, in 2016, he made a touching documentary on it called Il fiume ha sempre ragione (‘The River Is Always Right’).