Pupi arrived in Syracuse in the last thirty years of the 19th century, when Francesco Puzzo built his first puppet (the exact date is uncertain, as sources mention different years between 1875 and 1882) and founded two theaters.
Pupi had reached Palermo, Messina, and Catania a few years earlier, hailing from Naples (where they had been introduced by the Spaniards).
The newborn genre dug its roots into the territory of Syracuse in 1926, when Francesco Puzzo met Rosario Vaccaro; it further established itself in the 1970s, when the Vaccaro family joined the Mauceri brothers to create Piccolo Teatro dei Pupi, where performances continue to this day.
The repertoire has expanded over the years, and new heroes – invented or inspired by literature, such as Collodi’s Pinocchio – have been added to the traditional knights of the Carolingian cycle.
The Compagnia dei Pupari delle famiglie Vaccaro e Mauceri now manages the Teatro dei Pupi a stone’s throw from the Duomo, as well as a workshop where the sets and wooden protagonists of its shows are made. Finally, it also maintains a museum and research center where precious documents about this beautiful tradition are kept and produced.