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Home > Museum > Passports: New Arrivals from the World of Puppetry

Notes by Bradford Clark, Curator



Lupi Marionette Company and Ferrari Family
Italian, Piedmont region
Gift of Nancy Lohman Staub

Italy has one of the richest puppetry traditions in the world, with companies collectively embracing virtually all forms of puppetry. Along with the famous Sicilian Opera Dei Pupi figures, smaller traditional marionettes (which inspired Collodi’s tale of Pinocchio) are found in many parts of the country.

Dating back to the late 18th century, the stock character of Gianduja represented the middle-class natives of the Piedmont region of Italy. Originally a hand puppet, Gianduja was created by Giovan Battista Sales and was probably used exclusively in his company’s productions up until his death. After the 1860s, the Lupi family of puppeteers staged Gianduja plays, eventually establishing the Gianduja Theatre in 1891. Gianduja is now the symbolic hero of the city of Turin, and even has a chocolate named after him.

The carving of this extraordinary figure, obtained from Lupi Luigi by Parma’s Ferrari family of marionette performers, dates back to the year 1800. 

A new costume and other details were later added by the Ferrari Family.

Excerpt from Little Red Riding Hood, performed by the Lupi Marionette Company at the Teatro Gianduja of Turin, Italy. Gianduja plays the hunter.

An online exhibition catalog of Gianduja in theatre and history

Il Castello dei Ferrari: the Giordano Ferrari Company and Museum

Center for Puppetry Arts catalog page

2012-13 Season sponsored in part by:

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