Eduardo Scarpetta


Eduardo Scarpetta, actor and playwright of Naples, was the founder of a theatrical and artistic family. It was the father of Titina, Eduardo and Peppino De Filippo, Ernesto Murolo, Eduardo Passarelli e Vincenzo Scarpetta.

Eduardo Scarpetta was born in Naples on 12th March 1853, the father Domenico Scarpetta was a civil servant, her mother Emilia Rendina was a housewife. He had three brothers: Enrico, Giulia and Gilda; Gilda was the only one to follow the example of his brother and was actress in the companies directed by the same.

Eduardo Scarpetta, as a result of poor economic conditions of the family, at the age of 15 he became a member of the theater company of Antonio Petito, the famous “Pulcinella”; He was in the role of “Felice Sciosciammocca” mate misadventures of “Pulcinella”.

After the death of Petito, Scarpetta left the company, being at odds with the new chief. For some years he performed at the Theater Metastasio, on the pier in Naples, where he represented his plays.

In 1880 he purchased the theater S. Carlino, who was about to close. It was completely renovated and reopened in September of that year. The S. Carlino was located in the square near the Maschio Angioino, where once there were some buildings; in the early twentieth century they were demolished along with the theater, to make the new Municipio square.

Scarpetta, together with his company, represented its comedies and comedies of Petito, transforming the local traditional comedy in “vaudeville” in Neapolitan sauce; He had an overwhelming success doing every night sold out. It represented a show that derived from the Parisian comedy, but with completely original texts and following local traditions.

Among the many plays written by Scarpetta, we list some of them for their notoriety and because were made famous films starring Totò: “Na santarella”, “Miseria e nobiltà”, “The Scarfalietto”, “Nu turco napulitano”, ” O miereco de pazzi”.

In 1876 Eduardo married Rosa De Filippo, after seven months gave birth to a child, Domenico; the popular voice said that Domenico was son of Vittorio Emanuele II, with which Rosa had a love story. Domenico was the only son of Scarpetta not an actor, this was a condition imposed by the royal house which in turn assigned to a pension a Domenico.

In the same year Ernesto Murolo was born, son of Vincenzo Murolo and his wife Maria Palumbo, but according to rumors not proven, natural son of Eduardo Scarpetta. Ernesto, which had become a famous poet, was forced to a civil lawsuit to the death of his father Vincenzo Murolo against the relatives because of disagreements on the allocation of the inheritance left by the deceased. Ernesto Murolo won the case and became rich, he could pursue his passion for the poetry and support his wife Lia Cavalli, daughter of a Tuscan painter, and her seven children in the house on Via Cimarosa 25 Vomero without financial worries. He was the father of Roberto Murolo, poet and singer.

In 1878 Scarpetta had another son with his wife Rosa, Vincenzo, who followed his father’s footsteps doing the actor of theater. He also had a daughter, Maria, was born from an extramarital love story with Francesca Giannetti, music teacher; after a few years he and his wife adopted her because in the meantime she had been abandoned by her mother.

With the overwhelming success of its representations at S. Carlino, and the consequent prosperity achieved, he could build a palace in Via Vittorio Colonna 4 (Scarpetta Palace), where he housed with his family that continued to grow without stopping. He also built a villa on the Vomero hill, in Via Luigia Sanfelice 16, which he called “La Santarella” from the name of one of its most successful comedies “Na santarella”; on the facade had engraved the motto “Qui rido io” (Here I laugh).

Each year  he organized a big party on the occasion of the birthday of his daughter in his villa “La santarella” who were participating actors, directors, journalists, poets; these parties become famous in Naples because they ended with a superb firework show that was visible from across the city, because the villa was sites on the edge of the hill.

Scarpetta had three children from a love relation with the nephew of his wife, Luisa De Filippo: Titina, Eduardo and Peppino De Filippo, all three famous actors who performed in the major Italian theaters and participated in a large number of films. Eduardo and Peppino, in particular, wrote numerous plays, and also participated in several plays on television. Eduardo was appointed senator of the Republic.

Scarpetta also had  a relation with Anna De Filippo, half-sister of his wife Rosa, from which were born Eduardo De Filippo, aka Eduardo Passarelli, and Pasquale De Filippo.

Since 1904, his success began to wane as a result of the charge of having copied his play “La Figlia di Jorio” by homonymous work of D’Annunzio. Scarpetta did not deny the similarities, saying that the purpose of his work was to be a comic parody of the tragedy of the poet. He underwent a lawsuit in this regard that won, also as a result of an appraisal made in his favor by Benedetto Croce on behalf of the court.

In 1909, he retired to private life after having starred in the comedy “La regina del mare” written by his son Vincenzo. Eduardo Scarpetta died in Naples on Nov. 29, 1925.

Summary of the extended family of Eduardo Scarpetta:

Children of Eduardo with his wife Rosa De Filippo:

  • Domenico Scarpetta born in 1876 ​​dead in ? (Perhaps son of Vittorio Emanuele II, King of Italy)
  • Vincenzo Scarpetta b. 1878 d. 1952 (actor and playwright)                 Mario Scarpetta b. 1953 d. 2004 (grandson of Vincenzo, actor)

Daughter of Eduardo with Francesca Giannetti:

  • Maria Scarpetta b. 1890 d. 1949 (adopted by the spouses Scarpetta, actress)

Son of Maria Palumbo and Vincenzo Murolo (the illegittimate son of Eduardo Scarpetta, according to reports at the time)

  • Ernesto Murolo b. 1876 ​​d. 1939 (poet)
            Roberto Murolo b. 1912 d. 2003 (son of Ernesto, poet and singer)

Children of Eduardo with Luisa de Filippo (nephew of Rosa De Filippo):

  • Titina De Filippo b. 1898 d. 1963 (actress)
            Augusto Carloni b. 1923 d. 1997 (son of Titina, actor and journalist)
  • Eduardo De Filippo b. 1900 d. 1984 (actor, playwright and Senator)
            Luca De Filippo b. 1948 d. 2015 (son of Eduardo, actor and   director)
  • Peppino De Filippo b. 1903 d. 1980 (actor and playwright)
            Luigi De Filippo b. 1930 d. 2018 (son of Peppino, actor and playwright)

Children of Eduardo with Anna De Filippo (half-sister of Rosa De Filippo):

  • Eduardo De Filippo b. 1903 d. 1968 (actor, aka Eduardo Passarelli)
  • Pasquale De Filippo b.1906 d. 1978 (actor).