Sample of Quattrocentro font, from Google Fonts I'm a fan of Impallari Type's Quattrocentro. It has a certain classic elegance that I like, and it is very readable on screens. Unfortunately it lacks italic variants, making it difficult to use in many places. What free fonts might capture what I like about Quattrocento, but offer me proper italics in addition to a bold?

The use case is for the web site for a small event I help host. Any expenses are entirely out of my pocket, so I'd prefer free, but I could probably justify a modest one-time price.

These are the elements of Quattrocento I've failed to find a reasonable match for:

  • Relatively high x-height.
  • Relatively wide characters
  • Relatively light weight.
  • Modest differences in stroke width. ("Old-style" serif, perhaps?)
  • A certain "swooshiness" that evokes calligraphy for me. The tail on the "y" really captures this for me.
  • There’s one in my mind that’s a really good fit, I think, but I simply cannot recall its name now. It has the rather unusual trait that the uppercase letters in the italics are not italic, only the lowercase letters—sounds odd, but it actually works quite well with that font. Jan 8, 2018 at 23:28
  • Perhaps you're thinking of Joanna, which has a very nearly upright italic and a mechanical, constructed feel.
    – Copilot
    Jan 18, 2018 at 22:31

3 Answers 3


I believe I came across Quattrocento while looking for the font used in mid-to-late-1980:s "Byte" magazine. I later learned (via fontsinuse.com) that the actual font used was ITC Novarese, which has the interesting property of the italics that Janus Bahs Jacquet mentions in a comment, and seems to fulfill all of your criteria. Not free, though.

  • Yes! Thank you. Novarese, that’s the one I was thinking of! Jan 18, 2018 at 23:02

'Inscriptional' or 'lapidary' is how I'd describe it. Its characters are wide, it's designed to look good on a heading not for extended text. It feels constructed–for instance the 'b' and 'd' and 'p' and 'q' are mirror images. I don't have a great recommendation that's free, I'm afraid, but Tex Gyre Pagella (a Palatino clone) has the proportions. If you can afford to buy English Engravers Roman is a pro font with the italic you want, or Orpheus or Luxury Text.


(sorry for necroing this question by the way) I'm afraid that you have to use paid choices. Not even a free font can capture the good things about Quattrocento while having italics.

  • 1
    Necroing is one thing, but I can't really see how this answers the question. It's often hard (if not impossible) to give negative answers. "No, there is no free alternative.". How can one ever be sure about that?
    – Wolff
    Jul 3, 2021 at 10:50

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