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Ilaria Colombo

Expert Books

“Ancient books often contain surprises. It's like going on a treasure hunt every day.”

Since her childhood, books have always meant everything to Ilaria. Not only do books have a mysterious side, they also have the power to enlarge our world and help us embark on unexpected journeys. Beyond the stories, Ilaria has always been intrigued by the little details that make a book truly special; such as the smell of the paper, the beauty of the colours within and the roughness of old leather covers. She finds all of these secondary features fascinating. Thanks to them, you get a better sense of each book. That’s why for the past decades Ilaria has been on the hunt to find special books – especially very, very old books – and investigate their history.

For some years, Ilaria successfully ran her own bookshop, John Florio and Company, here in Milan. She had great encounters there and countless discoveries. Some still give her goosebumps when she recalls them. Like that one evening, when Ilaria met up with a friend of hers – the owner of another bookshop in Milan – to compare copies of the illustrated edition of The Metamorphoses by Ovid, printed by Giunta in 1584. Back then, her friend owned a copy of the book too; same printer, same year. It was remarkable then, when both realised that the woodcuts of their own copies were totally different. Antique prints are often a source of amazing discoveries.

Working for Catawiki – an international, reputable and multicultural company – makes for a stimulating environment. As an expert, Ilaria has to be fast enough to decide whether a book is interesting for the Catawiki community or not. She also needs to make sure it’s complete and in good condition; and she has to evaluate it correctly to sell it successfully. Years of experience are needed to be able to make all these decisions in time and professionally. The good news is, Ilaria has 22 years of experience in her field and she’s still as curious and passionate as she was on day one.
  • Passionate about old books
  • Has been investigating old books since 1999
  • Specialised in the theological disputes between Catholics and Protestants.

In the spotlight

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