I’m a fan of Impallari Type’s Quattrocentro. It has a certain classic elegance that I like, and it is very readable on screens. Unfortunately it lacks italic variants, making it difficult to use in many places. What free fonts might capture what I like about Quattrocento, but offer me proper italics in addition to a bold?
The use case is for the web site for a small event I help host. Any expenses are entirely out of my pocket, so I’d prefer free, but I could probably justify a modest one-time price.
These are the elements of Quattrocento I’ve failed to find a reasonable match for:
- Relatively high x-height.
- Relatively wide characters
- Relatively light weight.
- Modest differences in stroke width. (“Old-style” serif, perhaps?)
- A certain “swooshiness” that evokes calligraphy for me. The tail on the “y” really captures this for me.
I believe I came across Quattrocento while looking for the font used in mid-to-late-1980:s “Byte” magazine. I later learned (via fontsinuse.com) that the actual font used was ITC Novarese, which has the interesting property of the italics that Janus Bahs Jacquet mentions in a comment, and seems to fulfill all of your criteria. Not free, though.