In-depth review of Gioa Alleria Grotta Azzurra

Back at the tail end of last year, I was contacted by Grand Vision Pens and was asked if I’d like to review one of their new Gioia pens. To which I responded yes, please! This was quite fortuitous actually, as I had been browsing the brand for some time.

So, the pen arrived quickly, but after my initial gushing over the wonderful acrylics, I was met with my first obstacle. The pen just didn’t want to write… so well, the pen went back. Fast forward 4 – 5 months I now have in my hands a working model! Huzzah!

History & Brand

Upon my reading of their website, Gioia was formed in 2014, but was very much under the radar in terms of pens they were producing. In fact, I remember spotting the brand right back at the beginning of my fountain pen journey, which was in 2019. At this stage, I could not find any stockists of their pens, nor any real information of where one could purchase the pen. 

Jumping forwards to 2022, Gioia has enjoyed a lot of success in terms of promotion of the brand, and more importantly, getting to retailers. 

Their catalogue is relatively small, but they do offer a fresh look on the classic Italian pen. Utilising sculpted barrels in metal and a whole collection of beautiful Italian acrylics. According to their brand introduction, they produce ebonite and celluloid pens as well. 

Although there is no current celluloid models , they have produced pens for other manufacturers in celluloid and at some stage Ebonite will be released as well.



This pen is presented in quite a Delta-like fashion, with an hourglass piece of foam protecting the pen. The packaging is simple but contemporary and it’s not overly large.  The contents are a usual affair with care guide.

I do like the magnetic closure of the box and when you open the lid to reveal the pen, I have to say, the first impressions are wonderful.


Piston lovers will either love or hate this pen, depending on if you regard an ink window as essential. But, the fact that this pen retails for 135 pounds, is made in Italy and features a piston is pretty remarkable! So, kudos to you Gioia for this inclusion. 

The pen posts well should you wish, but it does extend the barrel by some degree and thus, makes it a little cumbersome.

One aspect I really want to highlight is the comfort of this pen, the section fits the hand like a glow and consequently, it makes writing and drawing with this pen a dream. 

The clip functions well and has no issues with thicker materials or shirt pockets.


Okay, onto the fun part! This pen is stonkingly gorgeous. I could simply leave this section here, but I fear that would make this review a bit pretentious!

The name is taken from the Blue Grotto in Capri and emulates the beautiful glowing waters of the grotto and as one rotates the pen, you’ll understand why the pen was birthed with this name. The marbling and shimmering nature of this pen are pretty breathtaking and I really love how varied the blues look. 

The pen is married up with ruthenium trim, which on first inspection makes the pen seem a little dark. But, this is a conscious design choice by Gioia. You see, the ruthenium emulates that of the caves and really connects the pen’s various colours together.

Proportionally the trim is set out really rather well,  as one glances up and down the pen, each part of the pen looks fantastic. I appreciate the use of rings on a pen when a designer is opting for acrylics as I feel it gives the pen a sense of style and sophistication.

Interestingly at the end of the pen, where one would post the pen, the pen bevels in quite a bit. This may not be to some people’s taste, but it does mean the pen’s barrel and cap can remain flush, as well as allow you to post the pen.

The clip is beautiful and has a refreshing design, whilst it does give off Italian vibes, it’s not the usual roller ball clip that we see on so many pens. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a roller clip, in fact, I love them! But, I feel sometimes it’s just nice to explore other options.

One note, Gioia had gone for a really stunning imprinted nib design! Which is quite the departure from last year’s model. See the photo below 

Overall this pen is very handsome and certainly when we take the price into retrospect, this is a very affordable way into Italian pens.

Writing and Drawing Experience 

Writing and drawing with this pen is as to be expected, it’s pleasant and smooth and there’s a hint of feedback.  This is in thanks to the wonderful balance of the pen,  it is honestly a joy to hold.

Fortunately this time I have had no issues with the pen in regards to writing!

Nib options are wide, ranging from Extra Fine up to  1.5 Stub

Drawing in reverse is possible, albeit a little scratchy. In regards to any characteristic to the nib, I’m afraid there’s not too much here!

Customer Service 

Alex from Grand Vision Pens and Gioia has been a joy to work with, both parties being apologetic in regards to the initial pen not working.  A replacement has been given to me and this time around I feel I can do the review some Justice. 

I’d certainly recommend Grand Vision in terms of purchasing from!

Final Thoughts 

Well, what can I say! This pen really presents fantastic value for money. 135 British pounds gets you a lot of pen.  

There is only one issue I had with this pen, that being the nib being friction fitted. When you have a piston filled pen, having the ability to remove the nib and feed in an easy manner (think pelikan, aurora) makes cleaning a real ease. In regards to this pen, however, I would limit the type of ink I’d put in. Just because, I wouldn’t really want to start fiddling with the friction fit aspect of this pen.

Overall I love this pen and as mentioned before, the price point is exceptional. Leonardo offers a piston filled pen for sub 200, but this goes quite the way in terms of lowering the costs.

So who would I recommend this pen to? Well, simply anyway, one who wants to try an Italian made pen. It’s a real joy to use and as such I think anyone who tries this pen will instantly fall in love with it.

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