Alberto and Cucciolo in 1947



Alberto and Cucciolo in 1947


Alberto raises Cucciolo during a parade to attract audience to the circus in 1947.


Cucciolo is a relative, almost a brother for Alberto. He is a 3-feet tall, but extremely well-built and strong. His real name was Francesco Rizzi (Pasqualino in the Circus documents in 1951) , born in Isola Vicentina (Vicenza) in 1930. He is he adopted son of Genzana, Olimpia’s sister. Olimpia was Guglielmo Zoppe’s wife. His father, Antonio Rizzi, is buried in the family tomb in San Fior.
He is also called “bagonghi” in Italy, the name of the circus dwarves. Tino (Albertino Wallenda) remembers that he had a hoarse voice and a strong temperament, sociable but sometimes angry. He drove a pickup truck and smoked a cigar. “He got mad once when he discovered we had called our dog Cucciolo,” remembers Delilah.


“Alberto and Cucciolo in 1947,” Italian-American Memories: Documentary Archive, accessed January 27, 2023,