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Official Tourist Information Site
Municipality of Ravenna

The House of Marionettes

Vicolo Padenna, 4/a - Ravenna
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In the heart of Ravenna is a charming museum, which is very uncommon and unique.

Just a few steps away from Piazza del Popolo, right in the centre of the city is the HOUSE OF MARIONETTES, guardian of a precious treasure of materials of the Italian tradition of puppet theatre, better known as Collezione Monticelli.

Thanks to its past and recent history, the Monticelli family, of Cremonese-Piedmontese origin, boasts a long dynasty of theatrical performers, starting with its founder Ariodante, who lived in the second half of the 19th century.

A tradition that has continued uninterruptedly for five generations, interpreter of Italian puppet theatre and custodian of marvellous props created by its craftsmen.

The museum

The work of recovering and preserving the family’s rich heritage (about 500 pieces) began in 1980, following the retirement of the famous puppeteer Cavalier Otello Monticelli.

The first museum was housed in the former Sala Rinascita, then, the collection was transferred to the Mariani Cinema Theatre and, finally, since 2005, it has had its permanent home in via Padenna, where it still is.

The collection has now become a small museum exhibiting 63 marionettes, 150 puppets, 132 stage sets, 130 handwritten scripts and many other original promotional materials (flyers, letters, announcements, permissions), along with other objects (wooden heads, puppet hands, puppet costumes).

Quite a unique collection!Many of the objects were not just put together by a collector, but were especially created for shows and exhibitions realised by the Monticelli family since the beginning of the 19th century.

Among the oldest pieces is the skeleton puppet, realised in 1850 by Oreste Picchi. The Picchi brothers also made some special puppets known as “divisionist” puppets, because they are divided into five parts. The Fagiolino and Sandrone puppets, typical early 20th-century masks from Emilia, are highly prized by collectors.

The House of Marionettes is not limited to its museum function. It is managed by Teatro del Drago, which keeps the secrets of the traditional theatre and produces theatre performances for adults and children and numerous other artistic and cultural activities, such as workshops for the construction of puppets and marionettes and training courses for educators and teachers.

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Ancient stage sets and scripts

The collection of the museum also includes 132 stage sets. The most precious ones are the ones dating back to the half of the 19th century owned by Ariodante and the Picchi family.

They are all made of paper except one, which is made of canvas and was given Otello by the famous puppeteer from Bologna Ciro Bertoni.

Many stage sets were made for the puppet theatre and were about 6-7 metres wide and 3-4 metres high. Many of them were later reduced in order to be used in the “huts” of the puppets.

Noteworthy are also the 130 scripts, which were all completely hand-written. The most ancient ones were written by the forefather Ariodante.

There are also other texts related to Vittorio, Otello, Vasco and William, along with others owned by Genoveffa and Agostino, by the puppet companies of the Picchi brothers and Yambo and by anonymous people.

Further information

Opening times

Tuesdays and Fridays: 9 am – 1 pm
Wednesdays: 10 am – 2 pm / 3 pm – 7 pm
Saturdays: 2 pm – 6 pm
Sundays: 10 am – 2 pm

Closing time

The museum is closed on Mondays.

Entrance fee

Admission: €5
Concession: €3

Accessibility

The museum is accessible to all people with physical disabilities.

How to get there

The museum is located in the heart of the historical centre of Ravenna, not far from Piazza del Popolo.

On foot or by bike: The museum is located in a Limited Traffic Zone, not far from the nearby railway station. It is only reachable on foot or by bike.

By bus: bus stop 850 metres away, in Piazzale Farini (all routes).

By car: there are many paid parking areas near the museum. For more information click HERE.

A cura della Redazione Locale
E-mail: turismo@comune.ravenna.it

Last edit:10 May 2022

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