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Johannes de Spira

A goldsmith from Mainz, Johannes de Spira was the first printer of Venice. He was given an exclusive 5-year permit by the Doge to print in the city, but died around a year after producing his first book in 1469.

On his death, his brother Vindelinus (Wendelin) took over the press, but the permit was not inheritable. Many competitors soon appeared, the greatest of these being Nicolas Jenson, who had possibly been punchcutter to the de Spira brothers. Jenson opened his printing workshop, the second in Venice, in 1470.