February 1883. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood …

“Once upon a time … A king! – My little readers will immediately say. No, guys, you were wrong. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood …

It can be said that the most famous puppet in the world was born in Florence.

Its author is Carlo Lorenzini, born on November 24th, 1826 in the San Lorenzo district, precisely in Taddea street n ° 21 (a plaque reminds us of this), the street behind the Zà Zà restaurant.

In February 1883, after it had been serialized in the “Kids Journal”, the Paggi Publishing House in Florence published the book

The Adventures of Pinocchio, Story of a puppet.

In the center of the green cover, we see Pinocchio running away against the background of a bright sun, and inside we encounter the first images of the puppet dressed in flowered paper and with a hat made of breadcrumbs. Immediately displayed in the windows of the Via del Proconsolo bookshop, on sale for 2.50 Lire.

The book immediately received a good response from the public but the publishing success of Pinocchio matured especially in the twentieth century, so much so that in 1921 it sold over 2 million copies, as reported by the publisher Bemporad (who succeeded Paggi) in the printed edition that year.

The success of Pinocchio is not only Italian: it is translated into 240 languages ​​and is the best-selling work of Italian literature in the world.