Our history

Electa publishing was founded in Florence in 1945.
The first Electa publications were curated by art historian Bernard Berenson (b. Butrimonys, June 26, 1865 – d. Fiesole, October 6, 1959), with the overarching aim of promoting and protecting art and architecture by raising public awareness through in-depth knowledge, photographic documentation and criticism. The initial and subsequent Electa series were destined to play an influential role in art criticism over the decades, and Electa’s lavish, informative monographs and scientific studies on Italian and international artists and art movements are still much appreciated today.
New horizons are emerging, in particular with the creation of book series and magazines that make Electa the first architecture publisher in the world; and art divulgation book series at affordable prices, intended for a new and wider audience.

At the end of the 1950s Electa moved to Milan.

Together with projects for the protection of cultural heritage, which saw the systematic cataloguing of a number of Italian museums and galleries (for example the high-profile series dedicated to Milan’s museums and art galleries in partnership with Banca Intesa San Paolo), Electa also focused on regional schools, the minor arts and sculpture. New initiatives saw the launch of a number of magazines (Casabella, Lotus e Interni) and the Electaarchitettura series which made Electa the leading architecture publisher in the world.

In the same period the impressive Electa image archive (now into Mondadori Portfolio) took shape. This gradually grew into a collection of over 500,000 colour and black and white images of paintings, sculpture, architecture, decorative arts and archaeology. Items were collected through prestigious photographic campaigns or commissioned from leading photography professionals and enriched by targeted campaigns and acquisitions.

The recent creation of an art series featuring a wealth of information and illustrations has marked a significant turning point for Electa, attracting a wider public thanks to a reasonable price range, and consolidating Electa’s future role specialising in art publications. Photography, industrial design and fashion titles are further fields Electa focuses on, establishing it as Italy’s leading publisher for these sectors, thanks to its extensive catalogue.

In 2000 Electa expanded to open a branch in office in Rome, in addition to its Milan office. This guaranteed an active presence with the capital’s main cultural institutions. 2007 saw the opening of a further office in Naples following the acquisition of Electa Napoli, a publishing company founded in 1983, although this is scheduled for closure in 2020. Over the years this branch covered central themes and moments of the Southern artistic culture, with catalogues of major exhibitions such as those at the Capodimonte Museum and Real Bosco, the National Archaeological Museum and the MADRE Museum.

These facilities enabled Electa to collect and publish archaeological heritage collections protected by the Special Superintendency for the Colosseum and the Central Archaeological Area of Rome and the National Roman Museum. It created catalogues and guides for Roman museums and launched the MACRO and MAXXI museums and Rome’s National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art series.

In 2016, with the purchase of Rizzoli Libri by Gruppo Mondadori, Electa acquired Rizzoli Italia and Rizzoli International Publications which includes the Bookstore in New York and a strong international distribution network.
Rizzoli International is an established market leader in fashion, art, photography, design and architecture books. Under the Rizzoli New York brand, it launched monographs dedicated to the world's leading fashion designers (including Giorgio Armani, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Etro), monographs and American exhibition catalogues.
Since November 2018 Electa has been based at Palazzo Niemeyer, at Segrate near Milan, the headquarter of the Gruppo Mondadori, of which it is part.
For its 75th anniversary, Electa opens the year 2020 with the acquisition of Abscondita - a Milanese publisher founded in 1999 with a rich and varied catalogue that collects the thoughts and reflections of painters, sculptors and architects, alongside critical essays for the history of Italian artistic literature.

The publishing company applied for ISO 9001 Quality Certification for the design, production and marketing of publishing products with artistic and cultural content, design and organisation of exhibitions, management of publishing and sales services at museums and monuments, design and management of promotional activities and cultural enhancement and marketing.