Rubbettino was founded in 1972 through an intuition of Rosario Rubbettino’s, a young middle school administrative assistant who left his “safe job” in order to dedicate himself to this entrepreneurial initiative because of his passion for the printed page.
Starting the business was all but easy, however. The place where Rubbettino operates was a prevalently agricultural area, lacking in facilities and specialized personnel. The absence of fast connections with the rest of Italy and the inefficiency of the local public offices made the challenge Rubbettino set himself for seem an impossible task. The first volume was a book of philosophy numbering 600 pages and was printed entirely with lead type. The printery had no linotype machine at that time so it was necessary to turn to a local linotype shop in Cosenza for the typesetting. Yet it soon became clear that a linotype machine, the cutting-edge typography equipment, was needed, therefore, one was acquired in instalments.
In 1976, the business fitted itself out with a real manufacturing facility (destined to expansion work every two years) equipped with new technologies: the linotype machines acquiesced to the first electronic typesetting systems, lead gave room to offset printing. The first video terminals arrived and with them, the first photo unit, the tables for mounting the films, the presses and the first offset printers.
The facility, however, despite the expansions, soon became inadequate to meet the new demands. Thus a new facility of about twelve thousand square metres was designed, it was completed in 1999.
With the new facility, Rubbettino also expanded its own offset printing range. A pre-printing department and a bookbinding and layout department were added to the printery.
In the years the business kept improving developing into the world of the paper-processing industry and rotary printing.
The printing business grew together with the homonymous publishing house, which has today reached national importance and counts among its collaborators prestigious names belonging to the world of journalism, politics, economics and academia.
The entrepreneurial risk taken by Rosario Rubbettino was not only that of asserting and making his own business flourish it also meant the development of a whole local business, tying the economic growth of his own enterprise to the material and social growth of the area where it operates.
Giulio Sapelli, recalling his encounter with Rosario Rubbettino, wrote: “here I found the Olivetti ideals of my youth […] In the bookstores I find Rubbettino books and on the cartographic map I discover that Soveria Mannelli is way up high, rooted in the Sila Mountains, and that in the middle of the pendulous wreckage Giustino Fortunato always spoke to me about through his books, there is a band of crazies (in the sapiential Greek sense of the word), struggling against it”.