Lachera characters wore masks until 1929, when a law of the Fascist regime prevented people from covering  their faces in public for security reasons. Before 1929, the Lachera  characters wore different masks according to their role. The masks clearly identified whether the character belonged to the group of beautiful protagonists or to the adversarial antagonists. The masks, and the significance of these masks, were lost during the Lachera revival after World War II and were not reintroduced until 1998.Between 1995 and 1998 the Italian carver Natale Panaro carried out a careful study of old photographs and interviewed the oldest Lachera performers still alive to understand the deeper meanings of Lachera’s unusual masks. He recreated the masks with papier-mâché following old  traditional techniques and was able to restore a lost part of the mystery of this ancestral rite. Out of respect to this tradition, Lachera performers wear masks only during the Carnival in Rocca Grimalda.

The two Lachè (old expression for servant) give the feast its name and they have paradoxically the main role in the performance. Lachè's joyful and lively dance may be a grotesque caricature of squires and rulers and their high hats covered of flowers suggest the idea of authority and power by reminding bishop mitres. They perform no-stop little jumps towards the Bride, whom they can never reach. But the most significant elements confirming the ritual value of the whole performance are its bright colours, flowers, polychrome ribbons which visually underline the joyful liveliness of this ancestral tradition.

Two soldiers (Zuavi) escort and defend the couple with long swords and defile together with two elegant ballerinas (Ballerine) in the role of bridesmaids: the presence of swordsmen connects La Lachera to armed dances or swords dances which nowadays survive in Europe with interesting examples in other places of Piedmont.

La Lachera is a nuptial train where the Couple (Sposi) is in central position; the marriage theme is essential in spring propitiatory rites, often together with war elements, and it is common to many myths and ballads all throughout Europe. In the past a man used to play the role of the Bride and this added farcical power to the carnival representation.

The Warrior (Uomo Nero) might represent winter or the Evil itself: he is a black dressed and armed character who follows at the end of the cortège on his own: sometimes he tries to come onto the stage but he is chased by the Zuavi.

The ambiguous and disquieting Bebè (male or female creature?) with its blood-red dresses, big airs and goat horns is a cominc parody of the Evil: it disturbs the dancers, tries to bribe the public and often tries to seduce girls.

Bebè is anyway a funny character and it can be identified with the Fool of the old folk theatre.

Country girls (Campagnole) and mulateers (Miratej) make up the train of common people following the married couple and joining the community feast. The formers were added during the fascist time to improve the choreography of the whole group while muleteers were part of the oldest forms of this tradition, reminding the presence of many carters (Caratej) in Rocca Grimalda who used to transport wine and other goods by carts and mules. During the begging procession (Questua) in the countryside some of these muleteers carry long chestnut poles also used to support vines in vineyards and they hung the collected goods from them, showing this "booty" during the final parade in the village.

Visitors can see Lachera's old traditional costumes in the exposition rooms at the Masks Museum in Rocca Grimalda together with traditional and ethnic masks from all over the world with permanent and temporary expositions.


It is possible to organize workshops and activities for students of different ages.


Visits can be booked in other days with a phone call to:

+39 0143 873552

Four Trapulin, singular comic harlequins, walk beside the cortège while accompanying dances with cracks of whips. In the centuries they assumed grotesque and funny features: they wear coloured patched dresses, noisy belts with bells and rich floral hats; they are the only characters with moustached masks and this may be aimed to arouse respect and fear, being them also the old guardians of tradition.