Gianduja is a central figure in Turin’s Carnival. The backstory of this typical mask from the Italian Commedia dell’Arte has him hailing from Asti, always ready to celebrate and enjoy a glass or two (his name probably stems from the Piedmontese “Gioann dla doja”, that is “John of the Jug”).
Gianduja was born as a puppet and marionette in the late 18th century, but soon became an icon of the Italian Risorgimento; after 1848 – the year of the Arbertine Statute, the constitution of unified Italy until the current one was passed – his image began appearing on Turin’s satirical newspapers as “Il Fischietto” or “Il Pasquino”, with a cockade in the red, white and green of the Italian flag.
Today, the Famija Turinèisa city association is the most adamant champion of this Carnival character and his history, and gives Gianduja and his girlfriend Giacometta center stage at various events and cultural initiatives every year.
Here is a series of posters dedicated to Turin’s carnival and its historical icon.