The Raffaele De Ritis Collection
and Library of Performing Arts

Started as an hobby in the early 70s, the private Raffaele De Ritis Collection and Library on Performing Arts houses today about 10.000 documents (books, posters, prints, films, programs) concerning live entertainment thorough the ages. It is mainly focused on circus and variety arts.

Topics includes circus, clown, magic, mime, Commedia dell'Arte, pantomime , puppetry, variety, music-hall, strip-tease, sideshows, comedy cinema; and side entertainment obscure branches as gambling, scams and cocktail art.

It is accessible by appointment for scholars and researchers.

Public showings are often part of the exclusive educational program Astley's Place.

The collection is housed in Pescara, Italy.

 The library, regularly updated, is composed by more than 2000 publications from all over the world. Those includes classics of the world circus literature from the origins, including a rare section of Soviet books. It also hosts an extensive collection of  biographies of silent movie comedians, and the basis of literature about variety and vaudeville in Europe and America.

International circus history is also  documented with about 1000 playbills and posters, and 2000 program-magazines and brochures.

The video archives contains thousands of recordings of acts from the 1950s on, hundreds of circus-themed movies and documentaries, making it one of the world's most complete footage collections of circus and variety acts.  Some of the footage is visible in the frequent custom educational program Nuovo Cinema Circo, in Universities and circus communities around Italy.

The engraving collection includes hundreds of prints, some dating back to XIVth century.

Some pieces of the collections are regularly presented on the Facebook page Raffaele De Ritis Archives, and in the future in the blog section of this site.