About Poliphili Font Family
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, which can be translated in English as “Dreaming Love Fighting of Poliphilus”, is a romance about a mysterious arcane allegory in which the main protagonist, Poliphilo, pursues his love, Polia, through a dreamlike landscape. In the end, he is reconciled with her by the “Fountain of Venus”.
The author of the book is anonymous, however, an acrostic formed by the first, elaborately decorated letter in each chapter in the original Italian reads “POLIAM FRATER FRANCISCVS COLVMNA PERAMAVIT”, which means “Brother Francesco Colonna has dearly loved Polia”. Despite this clue, the book has also been attributed to many other authors. The identity of the illustrator is less certain than that of the author.
It was first published in Venice, in December 1499, by Aldo Manutio. This first edition presents an elegant and unique page layout, with refined woodcut illustrations in an Early Renaissance style and a refined Roman font, cut by Francesco da Bologna, which is a revised version of the type used in 1496 for the De Aetna of Pietro Bembo.
The print quality is very high for the time, but nevertheless it presents many inconsistencies and imperfections due to the non-ideal inking and adherence of the matrix to the paper. For that reason numerous samples of the original have been used to create every single glyph which will result in an appropriate reconstruction and not a mere and humble reproduction.
Some letters like \J, \U and \W were extrapolated, because they are not part of the original alphabet of the period. Some letters like \Q, \X, \Y, \Z and \h have been updated to more modern variants, but the original shape is accessible by Stylistic Alternates Opentype Feature, which also changes the shape of the \V and the \v.
The original numerals \zero, \one, \tree, \four and \six have been accompanied by reconstructions of the missing numbers and extended by modern figures. Finally, swashed lower cases and original scribal abbreviations were also included.
The font has joined by a matching Italic variant, closely inspired from Aldo Manuzio's 1501 "Vergilius", the first book printed entirely in Italic type by Francesco da Bologna.
Leonardo Di Lena is a graphic and type designer from Italy. He offers his fonts through his Flanker foundry.