Time to travel: Montblanc and Montegrappa experiences
The summer travel season has arrived with people traveling in droves before the pandemic. Pen lovers have a few new opportunities – one from Montblanc and one from Montegrappa – to add to their to-do lists, either as side trips when traveling nearby or as destinations of their own. .
Next to Montblanc’s headquarters and famous pen factory in Hamburg, Germany, is the new Montblanc Housea museum dedicated to the art of writing.
The Montegrappa experience in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, promises a behind-the-scenes look at Montegrappa, its people and its enclosures at the historic location where the company has called home since 1912. Both sites opened in May and are easily accessible by plane, train, or car from a nearby town.
The Montblanc House
The power of writing and creativity is evident in the 3,600 square meters of Montblanc Haus, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Here, glass display cases house a wonderful selection of limited edition and High Artistry pens, and the iconic Meisterstück collection gets its due. through a clever presentation of its evolution over the company’s 116-year history.
The themed galleries include an autograph library with 30 handwritten notes spanning time and talent – from Ernest Hemingway to Spike Lee – and visitors can leave their own mark via a digital guestbook. Customers are also invited to experience Montblanc pens by writing and sending a postcard to destinations around the world.
“Every part of the Haus exudes writing,” says Nicolas Baretzki, CEO of Montblanc, of the self-contained three-story building engagingly constructed in the form of a Montblanc writing instrument box.
The permanent exhibitions offer an extensive archive (visits by appointment), which is the perfect place for a pen enthusiast to spend an afternoon – or a month – poring over historic pens, advertisements, letters and other fascinating finds from the past. Temporary exhibitions change twice a year.
Commissioned works of art are also on display, including Studio Marianne Guély’s spectacular paper sculpture suspended inside the museum’s dome and the art of Parisian artist Wendy Andreu in ink-dyed wool that welcomes visitors. visitors upon arrival. Even the Haus’ off-white walled interior makes a statement, acting as a counterpoint to the building’s dark exterior to echo Montblanc’s signature colors of black and white.
Visitors can also take advantage of a series of classes, including calligraphy and creative writing, in the writing studio, and enrichment opportunities for students and young adults are on the summer schedule.
Save time to enjoy Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city. The Hamburg Kunsthalle, one of the largest art museums in the country and the five-year-old Elbphilharmonie concert hall on the Elbe are just two of my favorite stops.
Visit montblanc.com/en-us/discover/montblanc-haus/inspire-writing make reservations for the Montblanc Haus. The pen factory next door is also available for tours upon prior reservation.
The Montegrappa experience
The Montegrappa Experience guided tour in Italian or English is available every Wednesday upon reservation, from Ca’ Erizzo 41/45. Stops include the Pen Atelier, the private Montegrappa Museum, and the on-site flagship store.
Guests (there is a limit of ten per visit) are permitted in the workshop, and here they can witness first-hand the effort and skill that goes into crafting each exquisite pen. I visited many years ago before it was a ‘named’ event and vividly remember how impressed I was watching the craftsman at work combining new technologies traditional jewelry and pen making techniques. I also remember being warmly welcomed when I arrived by a local band playing The Star Spangled Banner at the behest of then-CEO Gianfranco Aquila, a true visionary in the pen industry.
“For years we have strived to emphasize the human element behind our pens,” says Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Montegrappa, son of Gianfranco. “The Montegrappa experience gives guests the opportunity to see it for themselves.”
The private museum is a memorable treat. Visitors can browse pens through the ages, including a comprehensive collection of well-known limited editions. An impressive number of vintage Montegrappa pens are also on display, including safety fountain pens from 1912, celluloid fountain pens from the 1930s and oversized pens from the 1950s.
The cost of the 1.5-hour tour is roughly that of a bottle of ink, and it can be redeemed via a voucher available to use at the shop. The store includes a configuration studio where visitors can design their own pens, a “selfie” station to capture souvenirs made by Montegrappa, and a full selection of current products.
Be sure to visit the picturesque town of Bassano del Grappa on the banks of the Brenta River. Rich history, stunning architecture and incredible cuisine will vie for attention after you’ve had your fill of pens. Hemingway and the Great War Museum are must-sees, and Venice is just over an hour away by car.
Visit montegrappa.com/en/montegrappa-experience for more details and travel information.
Gianfranco Aquila passed away on June 27, 2022. My deepest condolences to the Aquila family for their loss, which will be shared by all who knew him.
You can also enjoy:
The pinnacle of fine writing: on the spot with Montblanc fine writing instruments
Montblanc High Artistry Heritage Egyptomania Limited Edition Fountain Pens
Montegrappa David Bowie Blackstar Limited Edition: January 8, a date to remember
Where the pen is mightier than a Valyrian steel sword: Montegrappa’s “Game Of Thrones” set