“Figli d’Arte Cuticchio” and the Opera dei Pupi
The Cuticchios are a notorious family of “pupari” in Palermo, keeping alive the tradition of Sicilian puppetry with love and artistic endurance.
Their love is for the ‘cunto’, the art of telling the stories of the Paladins of France dating back to the time of jesters and troubadours during the Middle Ages. In the first half of the 1800s, the warriors of Charlemagne’s court inspired the ‘pupi’ – from the Latin ‘pupus’, meaning “child” –, the very popular puppets that took over Southern Italy for decades of fun and fantastic theatrical shows. The Opera dei Pupi reached the height of success between 1840 and 1890.
The Cuticchios’ endurance is what allowed them to face the crisis suffered by the genre, after television started its unstoppable ascent in the 1950s, and began conquering the imagination of the Italian audience. People stopped crowding around traveling theaters, and started sitting in front of their screens at home.
Even then, Giacomo Cuticchio refused to give up and kept performing with his wooden creatures, evening after evening, all over Sicily until 1969. He overcame some extremely hard times. His son Mimmo opened the Teatro dei Pupi Santa Rosalia, in Palermo, in 1973, and founded the Associazione Figli d’arte Cuticchio in 1977; today, he continues to tell a timeless story of love and endurance in his father’s name… making the history of a family that deserves its own romantic epic.