Stories of Prato:
People of Prato

The school of comedians

The spirit of Prato and the flowering of comedy schools

The spirit of Prato, a very particular version of the Tuscan spirit, has produced over the years an extraordinary flowering of comedians: the comedy schools have been (and in part are) the people's houses, the street, the family, the work in the factory or in the fields . If you really had to look for the symbolic place of Prato's comedy, the first that comes to mind is the club 'L'unione' in Vergaio, where Roberto Benigni has breathed that popular culture since childhood, which, together with talent, is at the origin of his comedy and his culture and where many scenes of the film were shot which can be considered the 'manifesto' of our comedy (but one would also say of our popular culture): 'Berlinguer ti voglio bene' by Giuseppe Bertolucci (1977). In that mythical film, alongside the protagonist Roberto Benigni, some of the protagonists of that extraordinary comic season play, from Carlo Monni to Donato Sannini to Mario Pachi.

Everyone or almost everyone knows Roberto Benigni and Francesco Nuti. Few people know of the thousand Benigni and Nuti scattered among the villages of the plains or hills of Prato, of that widespread humor that is the humus from which a famous comedian emerges every now and then. But in Vergaio some of them know each other, they are the friends of youth so many times remembered by Benigni: Vasco Valentini, Valeriano Biagioni for his friends Riccardo, Vasco Rossi, Micheli, Renzone (also known as Renzo Fabbri), the great Franco Casaglieri passed away the last day of 2015, but also, a little younger, Massimo Antichi, also from Vergaio.
Francesco Nuti, (whose 1982 film, 'Madonna che silenzio c'è stasera', also remains, alongside Benigni's 'Berlinguer', the masterpiece of the comic soul of this city) director and actor grew up at the' school of comedy and life of a people's house, that of Narnali.

'The House of the People is the club, or rather the circus of Narnali ... even now, even if the historical figures of the sixties are no longer there, weavers with severed fingers sold the looms and retired, even if the people dress elegantly, the boys all look like actors or singers, like those of Big Brother or X Factor. ... as a boy I spent the afternoons between the campone and the club, near a stone throw. After the match with the gang I was always hungry, I ran to the bar and ate pastries ... once I ate twelve, I marked as always on my father's account, who did not believe his eyes and cursed me between his teeth when the counter presented him with the debt'- (Francesco Nuti, 'Sono un bravo ragazzo: Andata, caduta e ritorno').