The very neat, legible handwriting of Poggio Bracciolini, Renaissance hunter of ancient manuscripts, became the basis of the first types used in the printing machines in Italy. It was easier to read and faster to write than the Gothic styles which were in vogue in the 14th century. We’re starting a series about Poggio on our Renaissance Times podcast this week.
Poggio’s friend, the Florentine humanist Niccolò de’ Niccoli, developed his own style, based on Poggio’s. It was a neat, sloping, cursive, essentially a rapid version of the same script. It became very popular and early printers adopted it, too. They called it “italic”, because it was Italian. And that is what we still call it today on computers.