- you are here: Home
- Hidden Treasures
- Who invented 'Burlamacco'?
Who invented 'Burlamacco'?Did you know that...
Who invented 'Burlamacco'?
Do you know who Burlamacco is? If you've been to the Carnival of Viareggio you've certainly seen him, otherwise I'll tell you all about him. Burlamacco is the mascot of the Versilia event and, what’s more, has been that since 1931! Seeing him always so smiling and high-spirited you would be justified to think he is not that old, but he is actually 88 years old. Can you picture him in your mind? He wears a red and white checkered outfit and a black cape, a pompom on his belly, a red Feluca hat and his face is painted like a clown.
The father, so to speak, of Burlamacco is Uberto Bonetti: a futurist artist born and bred in Viareggio who devoted himself to painting, graphics and scenography. It was him who in 1930 created the character that has now become the very symbol of the Carnival of Viareggio. He drew inspiration from the masks of the Commedia dell'Arte and, in fact, Burlamacco has many of their characteristics: the Rugantino hat, Dr. Balanzone’s coat, the checkered costume resembling that of Harlequin, the white ruff of Capitan Fracassa, the white Button of French Pierrot and the typical clown makeup. In short, Bonetti made a sort of collage but the end result was so good that the character has been depicted on all the billboards of the Carnival of Viareggio since 1931. As we would say today, he has become the logo of it.
In 1931 his name was not Burlamacco but, to be honest, he had no name at all! His name, complete with a christening party awash with Champagne, came about only in 1938. Where does this funny name come from? There are several hypotheses: it was the name that Bonetti used as a pseudonym for some cartoons he published in a satirical magazine. It seems it was a re-adaptation of Decameron’s Buffalmacco. There is also some connection with the Burlamacca canal of the Port of Viareggio. Do you know that this mask also has a girlfriend? Her name is Ondina and in the first poster she wore the typical castigated swimsuit of those years.
Nice story, don’t you think? Just another reason to go and watch the Carnival of Viareggio! Considering you will not be staying on the beach of Versilia in February, why not take this as the opportunity to visit Tuscany? Our tours in Pisa could be perfect to discover, for example, the magnificent city of the Leaning Tower.
Siena: Ricciarelli: Siena’s sweets hailing from the far East.
Alongside panforte, they are among Siena’s sweets that best represent the city. Just thinking about their orange and vanilla scent, s...View
Florence: Who invented the bistecca alla fiorentina?
The Florentine beefsteak is the undisputed queen of Tuscany’s gastronomy. Including the bone, and strictly cooked in ‘blood’ (i.e...View
Tuscany: Ferdinando Innocenti: the inventor of the Lambretta.
There is no doubt that Tuscany is a land of inventors. Just think of Leonardo da Vinci! Ferdinando Innocenti is also one of them. Do yo...View
Florence: Negroni was born in Florence!
Did you know that...
Now that Mojito and Moscow Mule are all the rage as aperitifs, there are classic cocktails that have stood the test of time and moods. ...View
Arezzo: Guido d'Arezzo and the invention of the music
In Talla and surroundings people have no doubt: the inventor of the musical stave, the inventor of the music notes and also of the mode...View
Pistoia: The Kiss of the Christs in Gavinana
It is a very ancient but still popular rite. Two large processions that meet up with a Christ on the cross in front of each one: the he...View
Siena: Piero Carbonetti and his tin drum
Subversive, persecuted, anarchist, homeless, dreamer: it is really difficult to define Piero Carbonetti, Tuscan bred and born and Garib...View
Pisa: Kinzika, the young woman who saved Pisa from the Saracens
It was really her, a young woman with an Arabian name, Kinzica, of the noble Sismondi family, to save Pisa from being sacked by Saracen...View