I am here today to tell you about the Gioia Pens Alleria, but first I want to say this: wow, aren’t there a lot of exciting pens coming out of Italy recently?
Whether you’re looking to spend £100 or £1,000, there’s an Italian company ready with a design that’s not only beautiful, but often technically advanced, too. I wish the UK had such a flourishing range of commercial-scale pen brands!
So it’s into a competitive market that Gioia is launching with pens like this one, the Alleria, which has sat on my desk for the past few weeks. Does it bring something fresh?
In short, definitely yes. For €130 you get a full-size pen made in Italy with a JoWo nib, in-house metal piston filler, two-part clip, barrel engraving, a presentation box that is rather like Nettuno’s, four trim rings and a very unusual design with the cap threads at the end of the section, by the nib.
There’s a lot of work here for the money. The fact that Gioia is offering a piston filler at this price means it undercuts the competition a lot.
But is it any good?
Take a tour around the Alleria and it’s frankly impressive.
For starters, it’s a big pen, toe to toe with the oversize Homo Sapiens, Cuspide, or Scribo.
Uncapped it actually dwarfs these pens.
And the difference is in width as much as length.
It’s not just the size that’s impressive.
The silver-toned metalwork is flawless and flush.
The resin is attractively patterned but not gaudy, and although I initially thought it might be the same as on either the Scribo 3 or Esterbrook’s JR, it’s distinctly different:
And it’s polished to perfection.
Mine is all one colour, a blue called Mare Chiaro, that in some lights and angles looks nearly black.
But much like Maiora, Gioia also offers the Alleria in a range of two-tone schemes with coloured barrels plus black everything else, in polished and satin finishes. They all look great on this silhouette.
The barrel engraving is larger than some may like, but it’s very neatly done. The pens are numbered but not limited.
Uncapped the Alleria is a bit of an odd shape. The long straight section is a generous 11.5mm across, but the barrel is much chunkier, over 15mm, so there’s a prominent double step — although I can reassure you that it is well out of the way.
There’s a similar stepdown on the filling knob, which gives a bit of visual symmetry. This also allows the Alleria to post, to a ridiculous 185mm long.
The clip also echoes this stepdown effect. It’s ball-ended and very springy.
The threads are perhaps the most unconventional design feature. They sit by the nib like on an Oldwin. I was very impressed by them. They uncap in a fabulous half a turn yet never cross-thread, they seal perfectly so there is no drying out of the nib at all, and yes, they do fill with ink when you submerge the pen to refill!
Luckily the piston filler has such a large capacity that you won’t have the pain of cleaning the threads very often.
All in all, I found the Alleria really comfortable.
The filling experience was good, although with no ink window it’s hard to see how much you’re taking up. Flushing in the sink afterwards though, plenty of liquid came out! The piston knob is big and easy to grip, not that you need brute force: the piston ran silky smooth, one of the smoothest I’ve used.
And as to writing, well, it’s typical medium JoWo, with laser-engraved logo.
Smooth, moderately wet, firm.
I swapped in a gold JoWo for a bit more of a plusher ride. At that point I noticed the nib unit doesn’t screw out: Gioia confirmed it’s glued in. But swapping nibs and feeds is easy enough pulling them straight out of the unit.
So there you have it. A beautifully built piston filler with a unique design for an incredible price. Factor in UK VAT and it’ll still just about undercut Maiora’s Impronte Oversize, but it has a piston filler; the Leonardo Grande is a like for like competitor, and probably the slightly better pen, but it’s about £80 more expensive. If you like the design of the Alleria, there’s no reason to hold back.
Gioia sent me this pen to review. The best place to order the Alleria or Gioia’s other models currently seems to be Gioia’s Facebook page.