Famiglia d’Arte Monticelli
The Monticelli art family is one of the longest-lasting Italian artistic formations in the theatrical field, not only in the marionette and puppet sector.
The story begins in the mid-nineteenth century: today all the companies operating in Italy are either contemporary with the Monticelli or younger, such as the Ferrari of Parma and the Sarzi of Reggio Emilia Excluding the Lupi family from Piemonte.
One of the peculiarities of the Monticelli family is the attention to handing down the artistic craft from father to son, as well as the involvement of its collaborators, who have themselves become an integral part of the family such as Agostino Galliano Serra.
This peculiarity has made it possible not to lose a considerable theatrical heritage and to keep it intact, handing it down directly from generation to generation.
Nevertheless, the puppeteer profession was really difficult:
in the memories of some members of the family who lived in the first half of the twentieth century it is often stressed how cold it was to go from town to town. As buskers, they were kept a bit at a distance like the gypsies and “the different ones”, they were hosted in suburban houses, often without heating, or they were welcomed in the parish rectory.
It is very important to underline how the Monticelli family, known since 1979 as the “Teatro del Drago”, was able to create their own creative path of a contemporary genre, combining it with traditional production.
The historical information in our possession (but much still remains to be discovered in the historical archives) attest the Monticellis as originating in Cremona, at least starting from the eighteenth century.
From the family tree reconstruction emerge additional information of the forefather puppeteer Ariodante Monticelli parents: His father was Francesco Maria, a blacksmith by profession, born in Cremona in 1784 and his mother Blanda Terzani. Francesco Maria died in prison in Mantua in 1852, after six years of imprisonment.
It is not clear whether he was detained for political or public order reasons, but the history of subsequent generations would lead to think that the Monticellis were pro-Garibaldians and consequently it is assumed that Francesco Monticelli was a Carbonaro sympathizer and that his imprisonment was dictated by patriotic motifs.