I find the contrast between the characters in this inscription quite captivating. On one hand, there are these delicate curls, as seen in the leg of the “R” and the numbers. On the other hand, there are these sharp, almost prickly serifs, especially noticeable in “G” and “C”, nearly reaching out to touch their neighboring letters. Moreover, there’s a dynamic slant in the oval axis of “O”, while “C” remains perfectly straight. There’s a remarkable variety in the shapes, from maximally round ovals to very square bowls as seen in “R”. Additionally, the saturation of the letters varies; “P” appears bold compared to its neighboring round letters. In a modern font, this abundance of contradictions might be disorienting (although, of course, one could argue otherwise). However, in my opinion, it only enhances the appeal of such inscriptions. There’s a special fascination in examining them, precisely because the letters aren’t perfectly aligned, and each carries its own distinct character.
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, Florence.