Collezione Maria Signorelli





Trieste puppets, 

with relevant sets and stage properties of various scenes  



Life of Maria Signorelli

Puppets of Maria Signorelli  

The Puppets of Maria Signorelli - i fantocci

The fairy tales, nursery rhymes and films

Shows with classical and modern texts, films

  The ballets of Maria  Signorelli



Podrecca Fund 

Trieste puppets


19th-20th century Italian rod and glove puppets

18th century Italian marionettes 

19th-20th century Italian marionettes 

20th century foreign rod and string puppets 

Eastern and Wayang puppets and marionettes

Sicilian, Pugliese and Neapolitan puppets  


Shadow puppets


Toy rod, glove and string puppets    

Seven trunks of stage properties

  Paper and card theatres, sets and characters   



Italian and foreign literature on the history and techniques of puppet theatre

Toy theatres  

Scripts of puppet and marionette plays  

Posters of puppet theatre productions and festivals  

The exhibitions


There are around two hundred puppets 20 to 30 cm tall, which belonged to a non-identified aristocratic Trieste family from the early years of the twentieth century. 

They are in an excellent state of preservation: as the puppets were not acquired together with play scripts, it is thought that they were intended for an adult audience, and used  for works connected with actual events of the time. This would explain groups of puppets such as those identified as being soldiers of the French army, others representing various combatants in colonial wars, and certain medieval scenes, perhaps intended to reinforce contemporary patriotic themes, as was typical of the post-Risorgimento era. Constructed of painted plaster, the puppets are richly costumed, with minute attention to detail, with dresses, coats, crowns, hats, necklaces, swords, guns and daggers. 

Around one hundred sets made of cardboard painted in tempera have also survived (one metre wide and 70 cm high), with around 240 wing panels 70-75cm high, pertaining to sixty different subjects: among them there are a drawing room with columns and red curtains, an Arab village, a grotto with water and swans, an autumn wood with cart, cannon and drum, a cathedral, a medieval castle, an Egyptian temple, a Renaissance palace, a neoclassical scene with plants and ruins, and a railway station. 

Various items of furniture are also included in the Fund, among them a blue drawing room with armchairs, padded chairs upholstered in silk, sofas, tables, a throne room, an Arab parlour, a bourgeois drawing room with several items, among them a piano, a spinet, bottles and ornaments.  The workmanship is refined, the sets very accurate in composition and in execution. 

A section of the Fund was shown in the exhibition Piccoli personaggi. Grandi incanti. Marionette triestine della Collezione Signorelli (Little people. Great enchantment. Trieste puppets from the Signorelli Collection) organized by G. Volpicelli and put on at the Palazzo dei Trecento in Treviso from 25 May to 16 June 2002 (catalogue with texts by Renzo Chiarelli, Adriano Dugulin, Lina Job Wertmüller, Anna Laura Messeri, Mario Verdone and G. Volpicelli).






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