The Opera of the puppets, the so-called Pupi (from the Latin word pupus, that means child) consists of marionettes belonging to that sort of theatre, which deeply developed from the first half of the XIX century in Sicily.
But we must distinguish marionette and puppet. A puppet is a movable figure which represents a person or animal. It is controlled or manipulated by a puppeteer. Marionette is a puppet which is animated by using wires or strings.
It is a theatrical representation of The Song of Roland and the chivalric romance. It is rooted during the Norman period in XII century. In Sicily it was very important and for this it was saved until the contemporary age.
Is the puppet from Catania or Palermo?
The Opera of the puppets was very successful above all in Catania e Palermo. But we can notice some differences between the cities, not only for the kind of theatre, but also concerning their shape and measure.
The puppets from Palermo are 90 cm tall and no more than 15 kg weight. In fact they are easily manoeuvrable. On the contrary the puppets from Catania are 1,40 m tall and about 35 kg weight. So they are heavier and less manoeuvrable.
In 2008 the UNESCO inscribed the Theatre of the Sicilian Opera of the puppets in the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
The richest collection of puppets can be admire at the International Museum of the marionettes Antonio Pasqualino and at the Sicilian Ethnographical Museum Giuseppe Pitrè in Palermo. But in the same city you have the possibility to enjoy a performance at the workshop of the Family Cuticchio .
Adults and children will be fascinated by the ancient atmosphere.