Gianduja (commedia dell'arte)

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Gianduja (Italian: [dʒanˈduːja];[1] Piedmontese: Giandoja [dʒanˈdʊja]) is one of the masks of the Italian Commedia dell'Arte, typically representing the town of Turin (and Piedmont in general). Gianduja also became the namesake for a Piedmontese [[Gianduja (chocolate)|chocolate preparationThe mask depicts an honest peasant of Piedmontese countryland, with a certain inclination for wine (particularly Brachetto d'Acqui[2]), gastronomy and beautiful girls, while strictly faithful to his lover Giacometta, who is usually represented by a cute girl.

"Gianduja e Giandujotto", Walther Jervolino, oil on canvas, 60x65 cm


The character is believed to have originated as Gironi d’la crina in dialect or Geralmo della scrofa in Italian, ca. 1630 in Genoa. In the early 19th century, a puppeteer by the name of Giovanni Battista Sales got into trouble with the authorities who did not appreciate his sarcastic humour or the fact that the character had the same first name as the Doge of Venice and the brother of Napoleon who had invaded the region. Sales fled to Callianetto, a hamlet of Castell'Alfero, east of Turin and just north of Asti, and changed the name of the character to Gioan d’la douja in Piedmontese dialect, which means something like "John of the jug." "Duja" was a tankard or beer-mug and the character was fond of drink. In Commedia dell'Arte, Gianduia was a popular character in the Piedmont region. He was also very lecherous and Giacometta, his lover, always became jealous.[3]


He is dressed (in the usual version) with a tricorn hat and a brown jacket with red borders. Personality-wise, he always has a happy humour.

The character of Gianduja was originally created as a glove puppet but later became a marionette and then a live character portrayed by an actor. He is now Turin's official "king of the Carnival".