Museum La casa delle Marionette

09 January 2015

Romanzo d'Infanzia - Compagnia Abbondanza/Bertoni

Domenica 18 gennaio 2015 ore 16.30 Artificerie Almagià
24 January 2014

Almagià in Festa/Gran ballo di Carnevale

Sabato 1 marzo 2014/Artificerie Almagià/Ravenna/Ore 15:30
24 January 2014

Il brutto anatroccolo

Domenica 16 febbraio 2014/Artificerie Almagià/Ravenna/ore 16:30

La Casa delle Marionette (The House of Puppets) is a museum that housing the professional materials of the Monticelli family, one of the oldest artistic live performance troupes in Italy. This rich collection of antique materials represents the incessant activity of this family, which began during the first decades of the nineteenth century through the work of its founder Ariodante, born in Cremona in 1822, and died around 1910. An activity which was enriched by successive generations increasing its historic, cultural and artistic heritage, now recognised throughout the world.


Around a dozen of the Monticelli marionettes survive today, and are almost all Commedia dell'Arte characters (a form of theatre which translates as "comedy of craft"). The oldest is Famiola, who resembles Gianduia, and who belonged to Ariodante. Another one of the oldest marionettes is Pantalone, who belonged to Ariodante's son, Vittorio. Instead the marionettes from the Fratelli Picchi Company are known as "divisionist" marionettes. Their bodies are divided into five parts, and they were used in various sketches, during which their bodies would come apart little by little to create a very entertaining scene. The Yambo Company's marionettes are hung from the ceiling of the museum entrance and are easily recognisable because they have glass eyes and mouths which move. These marionettes include some which differ from the construction techniques normally used. For example the Tre Pagliacci, whose bodies consist of wooden rings tied together with cotton tape and whose height can be varied from a minimum of 20cm to a maximum of 90cm, without losing the correct proportion between the body and the arms. There are three types of marionettes in the collection: Yambo, Monticelli and Picchi Marionettes.The Monticelli collection brings together the precious stage materials crested by the family company. In particular there are 63 marionettes, 150 puppets, 132 stage sets, 130 handwritten manuscripts and numerous paper materials relating to the various tour (posters, letters, announcements and licenses), as well as various miscellaneous materials (wooden heads, hands and costumes for puppets and marionettes). It is a unique "living" material, which has "trodden" the boards of the stage for more than two centuries; material which has been built and which has sprung from the same hands which have handed it down to the current day, giving a piece of history back to Italian theatre.

The Monticelli Collection today also consists of more than an hundred puppets. Highlights of the collection include a series of traditional Emilian masks- Fagiolino, Sandrone and Doctor Balanzone- which belonged to Agostino Galliano Serra's Company Burattineide, and which were found by a researcher in an ancient Bolognese church and added to the collection only thirty years ago. In fact the Monticelli family started out as a puppet theatre company using marionettes only, but in the Forties the brothers Otello and Vasco transformed it into a company using both marionettes and puppets.

The collection also includes 132 set designs; unfortunately the limited space available in the Museum doesn't permit all of them to be display. They are all made of paper, apart one in cloth, given to Otello by the famous puppeteer Ciro Bertoni of Bologna.

Finally there are around 150 theatre scripts, of which about a hundred are handwritten and fifty are typewritten. Around a dozen are displayed at the museum and the oldest scripts date back to the first half of the nineteenth century, and were written by Ariodante.

The Museum organises various activities every year, particularly for schools, children and their parents. Visitor can take part in guided tours, puppet-making workshops and shows. Casa delle Marionette aims to be a place of meeting and of growth, of learning and knowledge, dynamic and full of life rather than "static", as the term "museum" might suggest, since it is the very life of the puppet theatre which encourages dialogue between human beings.