«To make books, to read them, write them, collect them, sell them, review them, I feel I haven’t done anything else in my life, as if an obsessive passion had overwhelmed me in my earliest youth. And yet I always found a precise meaning to make them here, where I grew up, on our land, maybe in Venice.
When I first started I knew and didn’t know that the Serenissima had been the cradle of books, that on the island itself, on the eve of the sixteenth century, that strange job that is being a publisher was shaped and defined itself, thanks to the likes of Aldus Manutius, prince and father of the history of the book.
For this very reason I continue to make books in Venice, as if the time that passed wasn’t enough to erase a history that has lasted five centuries and more
Cesare De Michelis
Marsilio Editori is an independent publisher rooted in Venice, owned by the De Michelis family. With an average yearly income of 12 million, it represents one of the biggest cultural enterprises of the Triveneto region, and one of the foremost Italian publishers. Its catalogue numbers over 8,000 titles, with 3,000 of them still being on sale, and about 250 new entries every year. To this day, the editorial structure counts as many as 40 employees, among them graphics, editors, promoters and other professionals. The books are promoted and distributed in Italy by Rizzoli Libri and, regarding its English publications, by Rizzoli International in the whole world.
Today’s editorial activity includes:
- Contemporary Italian and foreign narrative, among which the Giallosvezia
- Socio-political non-fiction and biographical and historical essays
- Academic non-fiction and the classics, in a joint venture with universities and public and private bodies
- Catalogues and art-related illustrated books, in partnership with the most important cultural institutions in the country (also thanks to the collaboration of partner-society Civita Tre Venezie
- Various others fiction and non-fiction publications under the trademark Sonzogno
(owned entirely by Marsilio)
Marsilio Editori was born on February 23, 1961 (the name is a homage to fourteenth-century philosopher Marsilio da Padova, Ghibelline jurist and thinker). A group of newly-graduated friends decided to carry on their cultural work with the shared intent of identifying and promoting the tools necessary to define the political reform project which Italy has embarked upon. The former students, without severing their ties to the world of academia, carve out for themselves a field of investigation in non-fiction. Initially their work will focus on architecture and sociology, cinematography and psychology, disciplines on which Marsilio is very active to this day.
In 1965, becoming a holding, the publishing company opens its doors to new partnerships, and gathers the means and ideas necessary to an entrepreneurial development of the original project.
In 1969, when Cesare De Michelis, whom has been working with the publishing company for years, takes the reines of Marsilio. Under his leadership the company will expand towards both political and cultural non-fiction, with the series “Interventi”, and also sees the entry of Italian narrative fiction in its catalogue, focusing mainly on young authors, thanks to the series “In letteratura”. The fiction series “Narratori Oggi” will follow shortly after, and throughout the years has been very successful.
Since the 1980s Marsilio has seen a constant growth, developing the various sectors of its activity. Fiction continues to enjoy particular attention: in 1987 De Michelis creates “Primo Tempo” which, with its newcoming authors, reiterates the company’s effort in discovering and supporting new talents.
In July 2000, Marsilio becomes a member of the RCS books group, albeit being able to maintain its identity and editorial independence untouched and unchallenged. In 2005 Marsilio acquires the full catalogue of Turin-based publishing company Testo & Immagine, mainly known for the series “Universale di architettura” and founded by Bruno Zevi, and in 2009 it acquires that of LOG607, a company specializing in multimedia guidebooks. In 2010, the Sonzogno trademark and catalogue is also acquired from Rcs.
After Arnoldo Mondadori Editore’s acquisition of Rizzoli Libri in 2016, the De Michelis family buys back the share that had been sold previously, thus regaining control of the company.
As of today the editorial activity – having expanded considerably throughout the years – includes contemporary fiction, both foreign and Italian (represented by the “Romanzi e racconti”. “Farfalle”, “Marsilio X”, “Gocce” and “Maschere” series), which, thanks to the GialloSvezia project, has brought Scandinavian thriller and crime literature closer to Italian audiences, and enjoyed tremendous success through Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium Trilogy”.
In addition to these, one can find the biographical “Gli Specchi” series, the classics collected in the “Letteratura Universale” series and divided in fifteen language-based sections, with new translations published in parallel, curated and commented by influential specialists, along with affordable great classics in paperback.
Contemporary non-fiction (nowadays included in the “Nodi” series, but also represented by the “Grilli” and “Tempi” series, and other series born out of the collaboration which political-cultural foundations, such as “I libri di Reset”, “Formiche” and “Interventi”) tackles political, economical, religious and societal themes. The “Saggi” range from literary critique to cinema, theatre, aesthetics, architecture and urban-planning, to music, art, economy, history, carrying on along the path set in the company’s origins. Furthermore, two have recently joined the vast array of non-fiction series by Marsilio: “Biblioteca”, specialising in reference texts and “Elementi”, which covers a list of basic academic publications on the humanities.
Finally, Marsilio publishes illustrated books, art catalogues and guidebooks, born out of a privileged relationship between the company and many important cultural institutions: first and foremost the Biennale di Venezia, with whom Marsilio has worked together for almost twenty years in the art, architecture, music, dance and theatre sectors. But also Venice’s, Verona’s and Vicenza’s city museums, Vicenza’s Palladio Centre, the Carlo Scarpa national committee, Bologna’s Pinacoteca Nazionale, Palazzo Grassi, Punta della Dogana and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Pitti Immagine Discovery foundation (with the “Mode” series), the Fondazione di Venezia, the Giorgio Cini foundation, the Palazzo Zabarella foundation, IUAV University, the Kunsthistorisches Institut Max Plank-Institut and many others.
Marsilio distributes its English books (Biennale catalogues, the “Mode” series, etc.) in the United States, Europe and the rest of the world through Rizzoli International