Named after the sacred one among the seven hills of Rome, Palatino is based on the humanist fonts of the Italian Renaissance, which mirror the letters formed by a broadnib pen; this gives a calligraphic grace. But where the Renaissance faces tend to use smaller letters with longer vertical lines (ascenders and descenders) with lighter strokes, Palatino has larger proportions, and is considered much easier to read. See the "typeface" article for more on classification.
The digital type foundries Linotype and Adobe Systems sell authentic versions of Palatino; Palatino Linotype is authorized by Zapf as the definitive Palatino. However, certain hot metal versions of Palatino, of smaller x-height, are both more legible and elegant to many eyes. In the Bitstream font collection, Palatino is called Zapf Calligraphic.
Microsoft distributes a similar typeface, Book Antiqua (originally by Monotype), which is considered by many to be an inferior imitation. In 1993 Zapf resigned from l'Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) over its hypocritical attitude toward unauthorized copying by prominent ATypI members. However, in an atmosphere of improved willingness to do business with the morally legitimate, Microsoft now also distribute 'Palatino Linotype' in Windows 2000 and XP.