UTET is the oldest publishing house in Italy. It was founded in 1791 in Turin, from the business of bookseller Giovanni Pomba. He would have a central role in Italy’s cultural development from the Renaissance through to the present day. Ever since its inception, the goal of the publishing house has been to spread knowledge through its distinct authority and prestige.
In 2013, the meeting between UTET Grandi Opere – the branch of the publisher that historically specialises in cultural and precious works – and the art publisher FMR, gave rise to the most important centre of valuable books in Europe. The joint mission of UTET Grandi Opere-FMR is now is to make high-quality books – through their texts, iconography and editorial forma – a tool for personal growth.
The UTET Grandi Opere FMR is part of Cose Belle d’Italia (Beautiful Things of Italy), a business initiative that brings together Italian companies that represent excellence in Italian production.
Cose Belle d’Italia buys, preserves and enhances them as part of an integrated system based on eternal values of Italian beauty, culture and the “good life”. The company operates across all sectors, creating value and promoting the exchange and dissemination of excellence between its subsidiaries. With Europa Investimenti as its parent company, Cose Belle d’Italia was founded in 2013 following its “Manifesto”, which sets out the key points that drive company’s vision and mission (cosebelleditalia.com).
Born in 1795, Giuseppe Pomba is the true founding father of the publishing house. At just fifteen, he inherited the bookselling business set up by his father Giovanni in 1791, which he ran together with his paternal uncle. Not even twenty years old, he bought a small printing shop in the local province. It was already a dream of his to produce himself what the market demanded. Torn away from his studies prematurely, due to the untimely death of his father, he became self-taught, developing an extraordinary cultural and civil awareness. A man of great plans, but also of great substance, Pomba was the first modern bookseller. Indeed, he quickly focused directly on seeking out customers that could support his publishing ventures. This is how he realised his first dream: to publish a large collection of classics (the Popular Library of 1828). Yet, there are many pioneering projects carried out by Giuseppe Pomba. Giuseppe was responsible for many editorial projects that anticipated the country’s cultural needs; these include the first Italian illustrated periodical (Il Teatro Universale, 1834), the first Italian encyclopedia (L’Enciclopedia Popolare, 1841) and the first Italian language dictionary (first published in 1861). Then, in 1871, UTET published the writings of Charles Darwin for first time in Italy. There were also major technological innovations in the field of Italian printing brought about by Pomba: the mechanical press in 1830 and the steam press in 1847. In 1854, the publishing house acquired the name UTET, an acronym for Unione Tipografico Editrice Torinese (Turinese Typographical-Publishing Union). It therefore underlined the union between the publishing aspects and those of production and sales which, for Giuseppe Pomba, was an essential bond. Once more, the publisher was ahead of its time, anticipating the trends of modern media companies. In short, not only did Giuseppe Pomba bring together culture, technical skills and business intelligence, but he was a great Italian who understood that these three qualities meant nothing without each other.
The great works of cultural synthesis
The historical mission of our publishing house is not only to provide specific scientific contributions, but also great works of cultural synthesis serving as a point of reference both for specialists of individual disciplines, and for a wider audience. Some “historic” titles of the 20th century include: the Grande Dizionario Enciclopedico edited by Peter Fedele (first edition 1933); the Storia della filosofia by Nicola Abbagnano (first edition 1946); the series Storia d’Italia edited by Giuseppe Galasso. This rich tradition is currently represented by La Cultura Italiana (2009), a monumental 12-volume publication edited by Luigi Luca Cavalli Sforza; Ecosphera (2010), a major work dedicated to the relationship between man and the environment edited by Niles Eldredge and Telmo Pievani; Letteratura italiana. Canone dei Classici (2012), in 8 volumes, edited and curated by Carlo Ossola; and Storia d’Europa (2013), in 4 volumes, by Giuseppe Galasso.
The publishing house that united Italy for the sake of culture
Disseminating UTET’s quality has united Italy. Over the years, its work has ranged from humanities to the sciences, from the world of technology to that of law. It also has a major commitment towards the field of lexicography and classical texts with original critical commentaries. Its large collection of Classics – over 300 volumes of Italian, Latin and Greek literature, philosophy, religion, economics, education, politics, psychology, history – is one of a kind in Italian publishing.
A true monument to the Italian language
100 years on from the publication of Tommaseo’s Dizionario , in 1961 the UTET tasked Salvatore Battaglia with creating a work that is unrivalled in the world: the Grande Dizionario della Lingua Italiana (21 volumes and 23,000 pages, with millions of citations from over 14,000 texts by writers, poets and journalists). His demanding publication lasted forty years.
A publishing house expressing civil values
In 2005, there was the start of an editorial trend inspired by ethical and civil values with the publication of two major projects coordinated and directed by Marcello Flores, and with contributions from international authors: Storia della Shoah (the most exhaustive documentation on the tragedy of the Holocaust) and Diritti Umani (2006), which takes stock of the world’s culture of human rights.
Prestige of great authors
Renowned cultural names
Our publishing house has always collaborated with prestigious names in culture as guarantee of our prestige and high level of content. These include, for example: Nicolò Tommaseo, linguist and Renaissance writer; Salvatore Battaglia, philologist and literary critic; Nicola Abbagnano, philosopher; Giuseppe Galasso, historian, politician, former university professor and Lincei academic; Tullio De Mauro, linguist, former university lecturer and former Minister for Education; Edoardo Sanguineti, avant-garde Italian poet and university lecturer; Luigi Luca Cavalli Sforza, geneticist, scientist, university professor, and member of the Royal Society and Accademia dei Lincei; Carlo Ossola, Lincei academic, university professor and Director of the Institute of Italian Studies of Lugano.
High culture and the art of books
Tradition and new technology
In 2004, the UTET began to reproduce copies of precious ancient manuscripts, including La Flora (2006), The Divine Comedy (2009), Trionfi by Petrarch (2011). From 2009, the publishing house began to focus on producing important limited-edition numbered works. The goal is to combine traditional editing of authored texts and all the beauty of books as objects to be preserved and appreciated for their technical and aesthetic qualities. The topics relate to Italy’s great cultural, literary and artistic heritage. This is what gave rise to: Musica e Amore (2009), dedicated to opera music, Ecclesia (2010) on the architecture of the great cathedrals, Il Numero d’Oro, artist’s book by Ugo Nespolo (2010), Sindone (2010), Verdi. L’Uomo, l’Artista, il Mito (2011), 1861 (2011), Genesi (2012), Scrigno d’arte. L’Annunciazione (2012), Pompei (2012), Il Palazzo del Quirinale (2013), Omaggio all’Europa (2013), The Divine Comedy (2013).
The Visioni impossibili series brings together great works created through special photographic campaigns: hundreds of shots of small portions of a subject are reassembled by computer software into one image with very high resolution. This is the only way to achieve spectacular print enlargements of details of paintings or frescoes with perfect definition. This gave rise to Giotto e la Cappella degli Scrovegni (2008), Beato Angelico al Convento di San Marco a Firenze (2010), Francesco d’Assisi negli affreschi di Giotto (2011), and Botticelli agli Uffizi (2012).
A renowned pioneering achievement in culture
Ours is one of the few publishers in Italy whose projects can boast working with the most prestigious Italian and foreign cultural institutions including: the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice, the National Library in Florence, the Museo della Sindone, the International Committee of Sindonology and the Museo del Risorgimento in Turin, the Uffizi Gallery and State Museums of Florence, the National Library and Archaeological Museum in Naples, the British Library in London, and the Austrian National Library in Vienna.
Many of our works have been officially delivered to the President of the Italian Republic and to the Holy Father during solemn occasions.