May of monuments

Published in Focus
05 May 2017

“O Maggio a Totò”: an entire month of events to celebrate fifty years after the death of the prince of laughter, the comedian Antonio de Curtis, in the art Totò, one of the symbols of Parthenopean culture.

May of the Monuments, this year is dedicated to the prince of laughter, Antonio de Curtis, the great Totò, is the cultural event held each spring in Naples that allows visitors to discover the treasures of the city, its monuments and places, and to discover the true Naples, its history and its traditions.

Until June 4, the city honors one of the most representative symbols of Neapolitan culture, known worldwide as the "prince of laughter," fifty years after his death.

“‘O Maggio a Totò”, this is the name of this year's event: a program full of events, guided tours, shows and concerts concentrated throughout the city (the program is available on the site of the City of Naples www.comune.napoli.it).

For the occasion, a special 5 euro coin was  dedicated to the prince of laughter who was awarded the honorary degree to memory.


Antonio de Curtis, in art Totò, was born in Naples on February 15, 1898, in the Sanità district, on the second floor of a building at street number 109. It is his mother Anna who, to cal him more quickly, gives him the famous nickname. A particularly lively little boy, it seems a tutor’s slap deviated his nasal septum, giving his face the particular asymmetry shape that characterized him forever in an unmistakable way.

Totò left his studies at fourteen and began acting in small and old suburban theaters with little success until, at the end of the war, in 1922, he moved to Rome with his family. It is here that his success begins with small scripts in the most famous theaters in Italy. Consecration takes place in Naples, thanks in particular to the performances with Titina de Filippo. Toto's strength lies primarily in his strong charisma: he does not just make people laugh but he drags the crowd into a whirl of jokes, exhilarating it to delirium.

If popular success is exceptional and unquestionable, however, the press does not save him from sharp criticism. For many years, however, Totò is the master of the stage, and plays alongside famous actors such as Anna Magnani and the De Filippo brothers, continuing his career in the cinema world: the films he interprets are about a hundred, for which he receives great awards. He also writes several songs, including the famous "Malafemmena" and publishes a collection of poems, called “‘A livella”.

In 1935 he married Diana Bandini Rogliani, from whom he divorced four years later, but with whom he continued to live until 1950, and has a daughter, Liliana. In 1952 he falls in love with Franca Baldini, to whom he will remain bound until his death.

On April 15, 1967, Totò passed away at age 69 in his Roman house in the Parioli neighbourhood due to a heart attack. He received a first funeral in Rome, on April 17, in the church of Sant'Eugenio in Viale delle Belle Arti: on his coffin were the bombet with which he had begun his career and a red carnation. On the same day, a second funeral was celebrated in Naples, and on May 22, he received yet a third funeral in the neighborhood where he grew up, the Sanità. He was buried in the cappella De Curtis al Pianto, in the cemetery on the heights of Naples, in Capodichino.

Totò Genius

On display, many objects which belonged to the prince of laughter or regarding his career, from the famous trunk from which Totò never separated to the 97 movie posters in which he starred, and 50 unveiled photos and videos of a young Antonio de Curtis during his first experiences. The exhibition, wanted by the Antonio de Curtis Association in art Totò, and promoted by the City of Naples, will be also presented abroad.

Until 9 July
Maschio Angioino, Palazzo Reale, San Domenico Maggiore, Naples.

Totò's Symphony

A musical show featured on the soundtracks of Totò's most popular film hits, including “Totò cerca casa”, “Guardie e ladri“, “Totò, Peppino e la dolce vita“, “Totò turco napoletano“, and “Miseria e Nobiltà“.

May 6
Auditorium della Rai di Napoli. via Guglielmo Marconi, 5, Naples

What do you say, Totò?

An international exhibition of contemporary art with the participation of about one hundred national and internationally renowned visual artists. The artists will exhibit works made in full freedom of style, including painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, design, and installations.

Until 16 May
Castel dell’Ovo. Via Eldorado, 3, Naples

Totò Tappost. Eighteen hundred caps on display.

On display ten works by the artist Luigi Masecchia. The protagonists of the exhibition are the colorful caps from the “Tappost” project based on the up-cycling concept, ie the re-use of metal caps, for an initiative that links culture and integration, good drinks and creativity. The main theme of the works, including sculptures, paintings, and furniture items, made with eighteen hundred crown shaped caps, will be especially Totò. At the vernissage, Thursday, May 11 at 6pm, with free admission, music and finger food to toast together with the present visitors.


From May 11 to 30 June

Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo. Via Ponte di Tappia, 25, Naples. T: 0817970001 www.mediterraneonapoli.com