Our Story

The Cento Amici del Libro Association was created in 1939 in order to publish every year an artis book of high quality to keep alive the Italian tradition of good printing.

This kind of Association already existed in Europe, in Italy was the first.


The Cento Amici del Libro was first located in Florence, then in 1979 transferred in Milan. For 37 years, a very famous printer, Giovanni Mardesteing, took care of the editions. The first volume published was “Aminta” by Tasso with seven etchings realized by the artist Francesco Chiapelli in 120 copies.


Till now the Cento Amici del Libro published fiftytwo artist books reserved to its members which cannot be more the one hundred.

The first three presidents were well known writers: Ugo Oietti from 1939 to 1946, Giulio Caprin from 1947 to 1952, Bino Samminiatelli from 1953 to 1976, then Alberto Falck from 1979 till his sudden death in 2003.

The members decided in 2004 to riorganize the Association with modern rules.

The Board of directors elected president Paolo Tirelli which was in charge till 2012, then for a year Gaetano Fermani and from 2013 Laura Persico Tirelli.


All editions include well known writers or poets’texts, some of which are published for the first time, such as the poetries of Mario Luzi, Eugenio De Signoribus, Andrea Zanzotto. All the books include the works of famous Italian or European artists like Fausto Melotti, Renato Guttuso, Mimmo Paladino, Valter Valentini, Emilio Isgrò, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Gérard Titus Carmel, Tulio Pericoli, Joe Tilson, just to name some of them. In 2015 was published the book “Sull’Orlo della vita” (On the edge of life) a short play with the designs of the Chinese writer Gao Xingjan who is a poet and an artist at the same time who had the Nobel Price for Letterature in the year 2000. In 2017 has been published a book with short poetries and 10 engravings of Kengiro Azuma, a well known Japanese sculptor.

The Italian art from 1940 till now is well rappresented in the artist books published by Cento Amici del Libro.