Travels of Rugantino
Rugantino, the mascot of La Taverna dei Forum Imperiali, is a character from the commedia dell'arte - the famous comic form of street theater that developed in Italy in the 15th century. This troupe of actors featured colorful costumes and masked clowns called zanni playing characters such as Pulcinella, Arlecchino, and Pantalone, each renown for their distinctive masks and characterizations. The troupe consisted of excellent actors, mimes, dancers and acrobats that would travel from town to town with their props and costumes and turn a simple piazza into a stage of entertainment, comedy and fantasy.
One character, the Captain, goes my many names, but the most popular is Capitan Spavento. Spavento means 'fear' in Italian, which describes his character well. The Captain is a braggart soldier, vainglorious, Spanish or Neapolitan, a buffoon who considers himself a prize for any woman, and who is timid in combat. He's thought to be the basis of Shakespeare's famous character Falstaff. He's known variously as Capitan: Coccodrillo, Matamoros (more comical), Rinocerante, Narcisino, Scaramouche or Scaramuccia (France), Rugantino (Rome), Giangugolo (Calabria), Meo Pattaca
After we returned home we took Rugantino, our little clay figure from La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali on several trips with us. We have sent the photos back to Alessio in Rome and he told us he was going to make a wall of photos for Rugantino and his travels. If you visit the restaurant look for our pictures and make sure you tell them that the King and Queen have sent you.