Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

It’s no lie: Pinocchio was born in Tuscany

It’s no lie: Pinocchio was born in Tuscany
Everyone knows the story of Pinocchio – the wooden puppet brought to life by a fairy and made into a real boy – and of course, his nose for trouble. But while most people think of the Disney version when they hear the name, Pinocchio’s origin story will take you all the way back to Tuscany and the streets of Florence.

The Adventures of Pinocchio was written by Carlo Collodi and was first published in 1880 in weekly installments in a leading Italian newspaper for children. The original Pinocchio wore clothes made from floral paper, wooden shoes and a hat made of bread.

But while you may have very warm feelings for the innocent Pinocchio in Disney’s version, the original character had some rather selfish and obnoxious traits, which Disney rewrote.
Being a European story, much like the work of Brother’s Grimm, the original tale of Pinocchio had a much darker tone, with some very graphic scenes. For instance when both Pinocchio and his best friend Candlewick (Lampwick in the Disney movie) were turned into donkeys, Candlewick ended up being sold to a farmer and worked to death. Pinocchio as a donkey was sold to a drum-maker who wanted to use his skin to make drums. But when he tried to drown Pinocchio by throwing him in the sea, hundreds of fish ate away his donkey flesh, returning him to human form. Pretty full-on for what many people see as a children’s story.