Sicilian Puppets Opera – I Pupi siciliani

Palazzo Duchi di Santo Stefano, 6.00pm
Free entrance 

April 13 and 14 2013  –  May 4 and 5 2013

Take a leap into the past!
Right in the historical centre of Taormina, in the courtyards of the oldest and most fascinating palace of Taormina, a Sicilian Puppets show will be held by the Gargano family.

The Gargano family  is the last remaining family of “puppeteers” in the town of Messina. Venerando, Giorgio and Rosaria Gargano, together with their families, are the fifth consecutive generation of a tradition that dates back to nineteenth century, as the “Opera”.
“Puppet Opera is a sort of puppet theatre that spread in South Italy and above all in Sicily at the end of the Nineteenth”. The puppets, which are moved from atop the stage, usually “perform the heroic deeds of Charlemagne and his paladins. The whole repertoire is  mostly based on chivalric tales derived from Carolingian romances which were recounted by the “Cantastorie” (story-tellers)  throughout the squares in Sicily, long before. Each puppet represented a specific paladin distinguishable by armour and cloak; thus the audience could side with one or another.” Main characters are Orlando and Reginald, followed by Charlemagne, Angelic and the saracen Rodomonte and Agramante. Sicilian puppets “I Pupi” can be 130 cm heigh and can weigh 35 kilograms.

In 2001 UNESCO included the Sicilian Puppets under the “Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.

More info (in English) and beautiful photos on puppets at (Thank you Mr Rosario for your post!)