The Antica Bottega del Puparo dei Fratelli Napoli is located in Catania near the Pescheria.
Gaetano Napoli has been able to hand down a craft that has proved to be of impressive artistic, cultural and even historical importance. The art of the trade has been handed down for generations within the family, Pippo Napoli being the first to learn the fundamentals and techniques from the master coppersmiths in the early 20th century. His grandson, Fiorenzo, learnt the art and perfected it to such an extent that his son Davide, who still builds the coppersmiths with him today, was able to do so.
The tradition did not stop with Davide alone, he was also joined by Alessandro (with the task of stuffing and lining the busts) and Agnese Torrisi Napoli (who makes the costumes).
Gaetano Napoli founded Teatro Etna in Cibali in 1921, over a hundred years ago. For about fifty years, he and his family took care of all the activities in popular theatres, staging 35-kilo puppets, 130 cm tall. Every night, the repertoire staged the best-loved stories, laying the foundations for the skills that would soon be acquired by his sons Pippo, Rosario and Natale. From these, it later passed to Fiorenzo, Giuseppe, Salvatore and Gaetano, sons of Natale and Italia Chiesa Napoli.
In those years, the Napoli family received their first regional awards, such as that of 1931. In 1958 came the first international one, at the Expo in Brussels.
As the decades went by, the demands of the staging needed to be adapted to new environments; between the 1960s and 1970s, in fact, a long period of absence of spectators began, which ended with the idea of shrinking the puppets and taking them out of the theatres.
Natale Napoli, advised by Nino Amico, reduced the puppets from 130 to 80 cm in 1973, making it easier to transport and manoeuvre them out of large venues.