Nunzio Zampella

1920 – 1985

Nunzio Zampella, son of the guarattellaro Antonio (known as Totonno d''e guarattelle) and Assunta Pacileo, was born in Naples on May 14, 1920. When his father died in 1932, his mother was in hospital, so Nunzio was sent to an orphanage with his two brothers. It was there that he performed his first guarattelle show. He left the orphanage in 1938 and lived by his wits until he enlisted in 1940. He returned to Naples after the war, in the spring of 1946, where he met the brothers Giuseppe and Giovanni Pino (sons of the guarattellaro Salvatore Pino). With them, he began his career as a puppeteer. When his association with the Pino brothers ended, Zampella built his own puppets and puppet booth and began to work alone, with the help of his wife, Concetta De Filippo. In 1978, he abandoned the profession, as working on the street had become too difficult due to his health problems. He then sold his puppets and his puppet booth to the ethnomusicologist, Roberto Leydi. A few months later, he met Bruno Leone, who became his student. With Bruno Leone, and using Leone's puppets and puppet booth, he started working again.