Hello again; As many of you know I love a challenge. I am not always successful, but I am willing to take on the extremely hard to place items. I especially love it when someone asks me to find a home for an item that has been for sale for a long time. Today, I bring you the rarest and most unusual piece of amusement equipment I have ever been asked to help with.
La Giostra Du Re
This is a true historical treasure called the la giostra du Re or The King’s Amusement. I have been asked by its owner to try to find it a new home. He and its previous owner have had several offers to buy parts of it, but they refuse to break up this Italian treasure.
It is all hand carved and dates from the 1850’s. The art work was all hand painted. This ride, if you can even think of it as a ride, started its life out wen it had to be turned by hand. Later they pulled it with a donkey and eventually about 1900 they made it a mechanical ride. It had 14 subjects and two gondolas or chariots. These were all hanging on the floor with room for two people to ride on every subject. In the beginning it was operated in the Italian King’s Gardens.
According to its owner this attraction was lost for a while. The subjects were found in a dark room near the sea side. A long time friend of his asked him if he was interested in owning it. He went to see it and meet with the owner who was a funny old man who told him lots of people had asked to buy it from him but they just wanted the subjects or the art panels but he wanted someone who was going to buy all of it.
Possible Royal Heritage
The previous owner told my client that there was a document in which the king himself had written that the amusement had been in the king’s court. So the seller went to find this person but he said this was strange because the gentleman showed him the document but refused to give my contact a copy of it. He told the current owner that he could give him the black and white photo you see here. He further told my contact that the amusement was built in the town of Mondovi and his father was the first owner of it. But at the beginning of 1900 he decided to sell as the amusement was getting too old for him to maintain.
After selling this one, he made a new one as a copy of this one. The current owner says he has seen some pictures of the copy and it is a very pale imitation of this amazing ride. I don’t have any of those pictures for compairson sadly.
Our Best Guess
So he tells me that it was probably made around 1850 as some of the subjects are of the Italian army. He bases this on the fact that the army uniforms appear to be those worn by soldiers around 1850. The uniforms were changed after Italy was unified in 1861. On the picture you can see the woman with a crown. He tells me that this was the symbol of Italy in those days.
I don’t have any way to document these claims, but I have no reason to dispute them either. It appears to be a real treasure from a different age when men built things by hand and dedicated a lifetime to their crafts. The art work while a bit disturbing in subject could easily be part of a museum collection.
Are Scenery Panels
They appear to depict scenes from the time of the inquisition. Although that is only a guess. I would appreciate your opinion as to the inspiration of the art work. You can click here to watch a slide show of the rest of the art panels. I slowed it way down so you can really appreciate them.
In my opinion the ride belongs in a museum preferably one in Italy. However, I have been asked to find it a buyer, so that is what I will do. I hope you will help me with this task. As far as possible new homes it would be at home in an amusement park, larger family entertainment center, beach boardwalk, pleasure pier, etc. It could be used on a portable basis, but I believe this would take a showman or woman from a family with extensive experience in the amusement industry. The showman in me thinks Barnum would have loved to have something like this.
I should mention that the owner is Italian, and we have had to work together to understand each other. I haven’t had to use one of those online translation programs, but there may be some minor discrepancies. If there are, they are solely my doing and I apologize for them in advance.
Video Coming Soon
The owner tells me that he has a video of the unit in use. It is on VHS, and he is having it converted to DVD so we can add it to the listing. It was used many years ago as the backdrop for a movie featuring an Italian singing star. The ride isn’t completely set up in the movie because that is what the singer wanted; but you can see and hear the ride in operation. He tells me that in his part of Italy it will take a week to ten days to get the tape transferred over. I am looking forward to it myself.
I hope you have enjoyed hearing about this historical attraction and seeing the photos. Unlike most of my listings I don’t think you have to be in the amusement industry to find this one fascinating. If you did like the ride or the post or both, then please share it with your friends, family and coworkers. There are sharing buttons on the youtube video of the art work as well as here on this post. And thanks to my good friend Ashley from Mad Lemmings there are now buttons for you to connect with me on social media making it easier for the fans of these kinds of items to get news about them.
I love hearing from my readers. So, if you have a question or need help with something having to do with the amusement industry, please send me an email or use the contact form. I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks and take care, Max