Santini Italia is a relatively new company, although there was an older Italian pen manufacturer named "Santini" which may have been the same family. I am not sure what the "1998" engraved on the nib represents, presumably some important milestone in the company's history. The company is owned by Giovanni Santini, and he is the pen maker as well. He was previously involved with Ancora pens. Santini Italia attracted my attention partly because they make their own 18Kt nibs, and they offer a stub nib. They do make some somewhat blingy limited editions but several models that are quite traditional and reasonably priced for pens made with handsome resins, piston filled and fitted with 18Kt gold nibs. So, I thought it was worth ordering one. I ordered directly from the company in Italy. Communication with them was easy and responsive. The pen arrived just a few days ago, so this is a "first look."
General size, shape and appearance
The Santini Italia "Libra" comes in several colors. The one I ordered is a light brown, wood grain resin. I find it rather handsome. The pen is a traditional "flat top" shape with low peaks on the top of the cap and the other end. It is a large pen, but not quite "oversize." it is about the length of a Pelikan M800 but a millimeter or so greater in diameter. I find that a positive characteristic, since I prefer thicker sections for comfort. The pen's fit and finish seem faultless. One feels it is very well made. The hardware appears to be gold plated. It is quite simple and in good taste.
Santini Italia Libra with a Pelikan M800 and an Aurora 88 (both with custom bindes)
Santini uncapped compare to a M800.
Filling the pen
The Libra is a piston filler. It takes about 6 turns to fill it. The capacity, tested with water, is about 1.5ml. It is very smooth to operate. When filling is complete, the end knob turns with a clicking sound, like the piston mechanism in my Delta Santuffos.
The nib and writing
As stated, the availability of a stub nib at no extra cost was a positive factor in my decision to buy this pen. My assessment revealed both strengths and weaknesses. On initial inspection, I was pleasantly surprised by the width of the nib tip. Most stock stubs on Italian pens are 0.9 to 1.3mm. This one appears to be about 0.8, which is much more usable for my daily italic handwriting. The nib is on the small size for the size of the pen. It is noticeably smaller than the nib of a M800. On closer inspection, I found one of the tines to be torqued slightly, and the tip looked like it had baby bottom. Also, it was on the round end of the "stub" spectrum. I expected writing problems. When I inked the pen, I found it wrote very smoothly with moderate to wet ink flow. On single strokes, the thick/thin line differentiation was about 2:1, but there was minimal thick/thin difference in writing because of how wet the nib is.
I will be taking the pen to the San Francisco Pen Show to have the nib tuned and crisped up. I'll update my review afterwards.