The beginning of the great adventure: Luce!
“I proposed myself as a printer’s assistant in an old fashioned typography in Ostiglia, Lombardy. The dust used to cover the boxes that contained the typesets and the hand press was almost always unused because the owner did not feel like working so I started to clean, to learn how to compose, to print. From there I began the great adventure.”
And so, just having turned 18, Arnoldo Mondadori started his editorial career. In 1907 Arnoldo, together with a small group of publishers, created Luce! Giornale Popolare Istruttivo (Light! Educative Popular Journal). It was an adventure born from “the desire to create with my socialist friends a page of propaganda and proselytism,” and “the difficult fundraising needed to print the first copy, printed by a typography in the regional capital (Milan).” It was also born thanks to the excuse contrived by him to continue to run the business.”
Maybe not even Arnoldo, who subsequently showed himself to be a forward-thinking entrepreneur, could have imagined that a local journal, published as a result of youthful passion, would have been the first of a long series of periodicals read by all Italians. Unfortunately, it is not possible to show here the cover of the first copy of Luce! since it is impossible to find, even in public libraries.
It is likely that Arnoldo was among the journal publishers and that he used to sign the column Between books and magazines with the pseudonym Mond'Arno. However, soon Arnoldo’s publishing vocation would prevail over the journalistic one. In a few years, the typography and stationary shop “L. Manzoli”, the same place where Arnoldo used to work as a printer’s assistant so as to be able to print the newspaper, would have become “La Sociale”, the first seat of A. Mondadori & C’s plant of graphical arts “La Sociale”.