Honeyed Words

Stipula Etruria Review

The Stipula Etruria is made from a rather beautiful golden brown resin, which has a pleasing quality of depth and variety of tone. This review model is fitted with a 1.1mm Italic nib. 

First impressions

The material is undeniably lovely – warm, honey-coloured amber resin, trimmed with gold. The nib is also gold tone, although made of steel. The pen itself is a pleasing shape and weight, though perhaps a little too chunky for my personal taste.

Carved wooden pen rest by @meldigicrafts

It is beautifully packaged in a mock reptile leather box, lined with cream faux chamois. I can’t fault the presentation, though the whole package seems unnecessarily over-sized. One of my constant problems is trying to find somewhere to stash all my pen boxes.

The full name of this pen is Stipula Etruria Magnifico Miele Selvatico. The last part  translates as Wild Honey. For me, the unwieldy nomenclature evokes images of some minor Italian aristocrat. Fallen on hard times, he is reduced to living by his wits (and looks) to maintain the facade of an opulent  lifestyle.  In preference, he provides escort services to rich middle-aged widows on the Riviera, whispering honeyed words in their ears whilst lifting cash from their purse. As a fallback, he uses his sleight of hand in a magic act at the circus, as The Magnificent Selvatico.

With apologies to Lana Turner and Fernando Lamas

Fanciful? Perhaps. Then that is Italian pens all over: expensive, full of showy decadence and never quite as good as they’d like you to believe. Or perhaps my flight of fancy is unfair, let’s see…

Writing Experience

I received the Stipula Etruria inked up with Scribo Notturno Viola, which I also recently reviewed here.

Eek! I’m afraid the ink flow is appalling. Not only is the Stipula Etruria a fairly hard starter, but it cuts out mid-word as you are writing. Scibo ink is quite wet, so there is no reason this should happen. There is most definitely a sweet spot, but you still have to press quite hard and the flow is liable to cut out even then. I tried writing more slowly and carefully, which I really shouldn’t have to do, and it still skipped like a child on a sugar high.

Sorry about the smudge, but I really couldn’t be doing with rewriting the sample

In addition, the ink seems to dry very quickly in the feed.  There was no getting it started at all after a week of idleness and I had to resort to a dip in water to get it going. Admittedly, we have been having some rather warm weather recently, but in an air-conditioned building, you can’t really chalk this up to evaporation.

As with many of the pens I receive for review, the nib size is not my usual preference, so I am prepared to concede an element of user error here. I should have liked to try a wider variety  of nibs to see whether this poor performance was consist, or whether this is just a flawed nib/feed combination.

In the interests of balance, I took the pen along to a pen meet last week. I am sorry to report that everyone who tried it agreed that the writing experience was awful. So there you have it.

In Summary

Like many Italian pens, the Stipula Etruria is a stylish looker. I feel that over £100 is far too expensive for a steel nib, particularly one with such poor performance. Since I don’t use italic nibs ordinarily, I was prepared to concede that there may be an element of user error. However, since several others had exactly the same issues, I can only conclude that the fault lies squarely with the pen/nib.

Overall, this is a pretty pen, but I’m not impressed with the performance of this particular configuration at all. Given a different nib, perhaps the Stipula Etruria would be a better proposition, but I can’t really see the point in getting one for display purposes only.

I really did want to like this pen. It is made of such lovely material but sadly, I would never reach for it. If there was any other alternative available, possibly even… gasp… a biro, I would use that.

  • Beautiful resin
  • Evoked an entertaining back story
  • Expensive for a steel nib
  • Poor performance
  • Really, really poor performance
Who is it for
  • People who like to display pretty pens
  • Devotees of Italian pens
  • Fans of nice packaging
The lowdown

I have been unable to find this pen for sale in the UK. It is available in the EU, mainly in Italy, for just under EU160 (approx. £135). It is available with various nib sizes.

The lovely carved wooden pen rest is from the lovely and talented Mel Carr at @meldigicrafts on Instagram

This review is part of a United Inkdom meta review and the pen has been kindly lent to us by Manuscript for this purpose.  I have no affiliation with the brand or distributor.


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