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The Best Pen Store In Rome- "stilo E Stile"



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THE BEST PEN STORE IN ROME- "STILO E STILE"

Compared to many Western countries, Italy has preserved a rich tradition of fine writing. Unlike the UK or France, for example, Italy still boasts of a number of wonderful manufacturers of fountain pens, paper producers and creators of fine inks. Some have sadly gone, like OMAS or Delta, but the tradition of writing instruments is still proudly continued by famous producers such as Aurora, Visconti, Pineider, Leonardo Officina Italiana and Montegrappa. The striking thing about these pen makers is that they are, fundamentally artisans- often family run firms.

Such an industry could only survive if it operates in a society where luxury writing instruments and paper are valued, where the temptation to rely on quick, easy-to-use, disposable ballpoint pens is resisted. Having lived and worked in Italy, I am often struck how Italians will consider it important to dress well, to use beautifully-made equipment, to use quality products. By comparison, Northern and Western Europeans, on the whole, tend to be more utilitarian, their clothes are practical rather than beautiful, they generally find it less important to possess finely designed objects. (I write as a Swiss with a French education who has spent most of his life working in the UK...)

In view of the above, it is no accident that Italian cities have more fine pen shops than France, the UK or Germany. Rome is particularly blessed with a number of well-known pen shops, most of them situated in its historical centre but, after many years of living or visiting Italy, one shop in Rome really stands out: “Stilo e Stile”, a small, mother and son family business, located close to the Basilica of St John Lateran and Termini central railway station.

The shop’s name “Stilo e Stile” is an untranslatable play on words of “Stilo” (a pen) and “Stile” (style)- i.e. “Pen and Style”. It is located on 101A Via Gallia, a short distance outside the traditional historical centre of Rome. Its website is https://www.stiloestile.it/en/

Why do I rate Stilo e Stile as the finest pen shop in Rome?

Because of its outstanding range of pens, and its even more outstanding range of inks, not forgetting its fine range of paper and notebooks. Add to that a personalised, knowledgeable service, and you have a very fine store indeed that all pen lovers should visit.

Disclaimer

For the sake of complete disclosure, I can confirm that I have no affiliation with Stilo e Stile and am just a regular and enthusiastic customer.

Stilo e Stile’s history

The business was founded in 2004 by Ornella Pognazzi, orginally from Naples. She is now joined by her son, Mario, who speaks excellent English.

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Ornella decided to turn her passion for stationery and fountain pens by opening a specialist shop, a decision preceded by copious research and visiting factories. When I wrote to Ornella and Mario, asking what their objective was, I received a memorable reply: “what we want to be is a unique place where you can find all: fountain pens, paper and inks. A place where you can see and touch what you dream.” In my opinion (and I speak as a regular customer) they have succeeded.

THE STILO E STILE WEBSITE: a treasure trove for pen lovers

I will start with the Stilo e Stile website, because that is a truly remarkable resource for pen lovers which Ornella and Mario have created.

Most people reading this review will be shopping online and relatively few will travel to Rome: but the website they have created is truly a "virtual shop" where you can get as close to being in the real shop online as possible. Stilo e Stile have embraced the Online Age and have created a truly remarkable online store, where every product (pen, ink or paper) can be viewed in detail, with the ability to zoom in and out of each item. Obviously it is always better to visit a shop physically but for those unable to travel out to Rome, the shop can be visited virtually at any moment of the day...

When I wrote to Mario to ask how he designed the website, he gave me an interesting answer: “The main challenge we always tried to complete was: we want people can see the products like if they come in our store. So we want to align the experience of a physical store to an online store.“ So Mario and Ornella decided to provide photos of every product they have in stock, testing each nib and each ink (they stock over 800 different colours…). This was a herculean task taking two years to complete with 6000 photos uploaded on the site, using over 50GB of storage. “At the moment we want to complete descriptions for every item and we have around 3000 items to describe.” Rather than simply copying the descriptions from producers, Stilo e Stile want to be unique and personally write the text relating to each product.

As Mario says, with justifiable pride “At the moment I think we are the only one store in Europe that has real photos, writing samples and ink reviews for all products.”

It is huge site, with a vast amount of content. One drawback is that it can load slightly slowly, as the vast amount of information is loaded on the screen. But the wait is certainly worth it and presumably as bandwith improves the speed of search will also improve.

PENS

Compared to other Roman pen stores, Stilo e Stile seem to focus on the more affordable range of fountain pens and rollers, i.e. up to €500, with a majority in the mid-range. In my view, this is a sensible commercial decision as few customers will regularly buy the very expensive Viscontis or Aurora pens. Stilo e Stile will, of course, have a Visconti limited edition for €800+ in stock but most of the time, customers will prefer (or be able to afford) the mid-range Viscontis for around €200.

I can’t claim to have inspected the full range of their stock. Instead, when I visit Stilo e Stile I tend to look at my favourite brands, which are mainly Pelikan, Visconti, TWSBI, Aurora, and Sailor. I particularly appreciate Stilo e Stile's range of Japanese pens which are relatively hard to find in Europe and it is a real pleasure to find a wide range of Japanese products one can inspect physically rather than being limited to online images.

Below are a few pictures of the range of pens on display.

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Another nice feature (which is common to most Italian pen stores) is that the customer can actually try pens with ink. In my experience, for example in the UK, shops are very reluctant to allow a customer to do this. (Incidentally, one solution to this is my experience of buying a pen in Taiwan: the shop offered to let me try the pen by dipping it in water and then writing on black-coloured paper; as the water shows well on a dark background, this allowed me to test the nib by experiencing its flow. Perhaps that should be a common practice in the West?}

Stilo e Stile also have a wide stock of nib spares. On one recent visit, I brought a Pilot Vanishing Point which I had unfortunately dropped on its nib: I had been unable to repair the damage but Stilo e Stile had a replacement nib available, which was unexpected and very welcome!

INKS

Stilo e Stile have a really outstanding stock of inks- over 800 different colours… That is a truly impressive range. Stilo e Stile offer most well-known manufacturers of inks, including [the figures are taken from their website]

Aurora- 13 colours

Diamine – 261 colours (!)

J. Herbin -84 colours

Kyoto inks- 15 colours

Noodler- 118 colours

Sailor- 31 colours

Robert Oster- 105 colours

They also have their own brand of inks, but I have not tried them yet.

The photo below shows only part of the cornucopia of inks they offer. One feature I particularly like, being a fan of Japanese inks, is that they offer all the Iroshizuku inks (including the anniversary inks which are hard to find), as well as Kyo-no-Oto inks (again hard to find in Europe).

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This is a vast range of inks, but what makes Stilo e Stile so distinctive is that they have tried out each ink and, on their website, a customer will find that every ink is exhibited with six or more different pictures, displaying the bottle, offering writing samples and providing information on features such as saturation level etc. In addition, by clicking on a photo, the customer can zoom in or out.

I am not surprised it took Mario two years (and 50GB) to create this website and compile all the writing samples and photos of the products. In my view, this website is a treasure trove of information for those looking for an ink and who wish to see the ink “in action”.

PAPER

I must confess that I have not really explored their range of paper and stationery, as I am rather firmly wedded to the Leuchtturm 1917 brand, which for me is the ideal fountain pen friendly notebook.

However, I have looked at Stilo e Stile's range of Japanese paper, especially Tomoe River paper of which they have a good range. I bought two Colorverse “Nebula” tomoe river notebooks which have proved excellent.

Stilo e Stile stock a broad range of Traveller’s Company, Rhodia and Lamy notebooks. As with the pens and inks, every notebook can be examined on the website, with a selection of pictures that can be zoomed in and out, showing the covers and inside content.

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There are many more photos of Stilo e Stile and its contents on the website https://www.stiloestile.it/en/

CONCLUDING REMARKS

I should add that Stilo e Stile offer a very good posting service, with (in my experience) prompt packaging and despatch. I live in London and I have found parcels to reach me quickly and with very reasonable charges. Stilo e Stile also fulfil orders on a range of products sold via Amazon.

What of the future? Ornella and Mario have ambitions to exhibit at pen shows beyond Italy and to continue to develop the website. Mario tells me they have 3000 items to fully describe and upload on the website, so they will be kept busy for some time yet!

I was also interested to hear from them that they are planning to have their own exclusive pen editions. One will be made by Leonardo Officina Italiana, the other by Opus 88. Details will be revealed soon, so I would suggest visiting the Stilo e Stile website on a regular basis. I am sure both pens will have the usual flair, colour and elegance of so many of the pens being produced by Italian manufacturers.

I hope this review will be of interest to FPN members and readers: Stilo e Stile have certainly set new standards of excellence and offer a truly wonderful experience to all pen lovers!

Edited by Quadratus
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  • Bikerchick

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Very interesting to hear about their store and see photos. The website is excellent and I use it as my primary source to research inks because the writing samples are so good and they have such a comprehensive stock. It’s actually one of my most frequently visited websites. I must buy a pen from them in the near future - I feel I owe them something.

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Very good write up! Loved the pictures.

 

I have taken note of their site a few weeks ago and went window shopping and was blown away.

What a gem! I am for sure a future customer.

Their inventory is amazing (esp the Japanese stuff).

 

Esp with Brexit on the horizon I am looking more at shops across the EU...

 

Luckily shops are expanding their current offer (though it looks a bit like I could be well happy with just Stilo e Stile!!).

 

Good Italian shops, Dutch, German, Spanish, I have an eye on Pennonia in Romania, but I haven't discovered a good French shop! Or I learn of a shop, but the website is.... ahem... not very good, therefore the shop is instantly uninteresting (if I can't buy anything, it's obvs of no use...)...

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Great review of a great store.....

 

Almost feels like I've been there now....but you saved me the plane fare.....thanks!

 

Actually, your review is an interesting coincidence, as I stumbled across their website beginning of February.

 

I emailed about a few pens I was interested in and got a very helpful, quick, and clear response from Mario.

 

As a result, I decided to order several pens.

 

About 5 days later, my pens arrived here in California, USA......pretty quick....and package was well packed.

 

So, + 1 for Stilo e Stile......

 

:)

 

Mark

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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Thank you so much for such an extensive review and very nice pictures which do "put a face to the person".

I am already a customer of Stilo & Stile on their web site although never managed to visit them in Rome.

Besides their lovely web site, they also have sales on the bay, where they very often have free shipping (at least to Italy) offers.

More than once it's been quite a fight vs La casa della stilografica in Firenze on product range and pricing.

La Casa della Stilografica tends to propose discounts that make purchase interesting, but Stilo & Stile free shipping offers often come close if not better. They are both very nice shops I buy from frequently. (then for very particular requests there is always Novelli...)

My latest purchase on Stilo & Stile's site was a Lamy nib which arrived yesterday.

The Lamy nib I had on my Wing Sung 3008 came off the feed while washing and disappeared down the drain before I was even able to swear...

Damage done, I went on their site and ordered another... which got to my home in 1 day flat (and in times of covid-19...).

Remarkable.

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A very good review and important comments about Italy and the Italians. :D Next time that i will be in Rome I will visit their stor

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I have bought from them in the past, but I didn't know that they had such an amazing b&m shop in Rome (otherwise I would've visited already!).

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I have been a customer of both the internet and the physical stores, moreover I met Ornella in several of the Italian penshows. I can confirm that Stilo e Stile is among the best pen shops worldwide, with a very great attitude towards the customers.

 

Alfredo

Edited by alfredop
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Lovely. Looks like my favorite kind of store, small and crowded.

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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  • 2 weeks later...

A lot of clichés on Italy, UK, France...

Nevertheless you provide a good review of a very nice shop that I visited 2 or 3 years ago. I met Mario (did not recall the name) and had a very nice and quite long chat. I really appreciated and keep a good memory of him and of his « small » (in square meters) shop.

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I've been to Rome a few times, but did not know about this store. I do love their website--it's a fantastic reference for ink colors and water resistance tests. They were the first to have Aurora 100th Anniversary inks tested and photographed out of anywhere on-line (I searched frequently). I am very grateful to them for making this valuable resource available to the public and will definitely pay them a visit next time I'm in Rome.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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  • 1 year later...
Bikerchick

I'm a little late to the party but I thought I'd share here that you can use the promo code "FORUMFPIT" at check-out for a 10% discount. I found it on an Italian pen forum and although the post was from 2014, the code still works. 😊

What is this money pit obsession hole I have fallen into? 

 

My other passion

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17 hours ago, Bikerchick said:

I'm a little late to the party but I thought I'd share here that you can use the promo code "FORUMFPIT" at check-out for a 10% discount. I found it on an Italian pen forum and although the post was from 2014, the code still works. 😊

In theory the code is reserved to the members of that forum only.......

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sansenri

their ink reference samples are really well made, I have used other ink sampling sites, but I find the colours on the Stilo&Stile site are very true to life, so a very good reference for choosing ink with very good chance that WYSIWYG

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Bikerchick
3 hours ago, fabri00 said:

In theory the code is reserved to the members of that forum only.......

Good thing I'm a member then. 

What is this money pit obsession hole I have fallen into? 

 

My other passion

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I was recommended Stilo e Stile by another user of this forum. I discovered that it is not only the best shop for pens and inks in Roma, it is the best one in the whole of Austria. By this I mean two things:

 

1. We have nothing to touch it in Austria.

 

2. The mail order operation of Stilo e Stile is superb. Prices are keen, inventory is large, delivery is fast and reasonably priced. (The English on the website is also accurate and idiomatic.)

 

Bravo, bravissimo!

 

David

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