Collezione Maria Signorelli





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




La vita di 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

Having herself a vast and profound theatrical knowledge, as artist and collector who not only ceaselessly created items for her own productions, but wrote books and articles relating to her technical discoveries and her historical researches, Maria Signorelli obviously had an enormous library. 

In it, however, other than volumes relating to the history and variety of puppet theatre techniques from all over the world, of particular interest are those containing instructions and diagrams for constructing objects, puppets and optical illusions of various kinds. 

For example, there is an Italian book published in 1953 containing dozens of patterns for making bag puppets. A French book published in 1950, Mon petit théâtre, contains patterns for finger puppets together with set designs. From the same period there is a French book on optical illusions. 

A Czech volume dating from 1970 contains 16 pages for making cone puppets. An English book published in 1958 has examples of tube marionettes to be assembled and painted. And an English edition of Hamlet contains an abridgement in 14 scenes of Shakespeare's text and instructions on how to construct the marionettes. A Dutch book illustrates the construction of a puppet theatre complete with a number of wings.

Of special interest too are fifteen books of fairy tales, mostly Czech, Polish and Russian, from the 1950s, the pages of which, when opened, create three-dimensional scenes to simulate a theatre set. The most beautiful is a Cinderella, created as a ‘book-theatre’ by Hoepli in 1950 (drawings by Mario Zampini).






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