Gli Innamorati (Italian: "The Lovers")[1] were stock characters within the theatre style known as Commedia dell'arte, which appeared in 16th century Italy. These characters were present within commedia plays for the sole purpose of being in love with one another, and moreover with themselves. Despite facing many obstacles, the Lovers are always united by the end [2]


The name Innamorati is the Italian word for "Lovers".[3]

The dramatists of the Italian Renaissance borrowed ideas from early Roman playwrights, such as Plautus and Terence, whom the theater style known as commedia erudita was inspired by.

Characteristics and dramatic function

The Lovers tend to be overly dramatic in whatever emotion they express. Separation from their lover led them to strongly lament and moan their state, although, once they finally meet, they are at a loss of words. In order to express what they truly want to say, they always need the help of a servant to act as a go-between. The Lovers always act in a childlike and immature way. When not getting their way, they throw tantrums like a young child: they stomp their feet, pout, and even cry and whine if things do not go according to their wishes. Very selfish and self-centered, the Lovers are in their own worlds in which they themselves are the most important subjects. Along with loving themselves, they are in love with the very idea of love and what it pertains to.[3]

The main point of the Lovers within the play is to be in love, and in doing so, they come upon obstacles that keep them from pursuing their relationship. They always involve other commedia characters to try to figure out how they can be together, since they themselves are not intelligent enough to figure out how to be together on their own.[3]

Physical appearance and attributes

The Lovers are always young in age, possessing courteousness and gallantry. They are very attractive, and elegant in their appearance overall.[4]

The women's dresses were of the finest silks and they wear showy jewelry characteristic of Renaissance style.[5] The males wear soldier-like attire, while both sexes wear extravagant wigs and also change clothes numerous times throughout the length of the production.[3]

The Lovers never wear the masks which are characteristic of most of the other stock characters in the commedia dell'arte. They do, however, wear lots of makeup and apply beauty marks to their faces.[3]

The posture that the Lovers take on is that of strong pride. They point their toes while standing and puff up their chests. Overall, they lack contact with the ground and seem to float across the ground rather than take steps.[3] Their hand movements and gestures are also very characteristic of the buoyant movements that their feet take on.

Their speech is very eloquent Tuscan, as they are of high social status. They are well-read in poetry and often recite it at length from memory, and even tend to sing quite often.[2] Their language is full of flamboyant and lofty rhetoric so that most of what they say is not taken too seriously, by either the audience or the other characters.[3]


The Lovers are overtaken by the love and overall more interested in that than in their prospective lover. Following that, they do love each other, but are more consumed with the idea of being in love. They never outwardly communicate with their lover even when they are in close contact, due to nerves, and, therefore, never really outwardly express affection toward their beloved. The Lovers commonly fight or bicker. Despite the bitter interactions, the Lovers mostly reconcile their differences by the end of the play and end up happily together and/or married.[3] The Lovers are usually the children of either Dottore or Pantalone.[2]

The Lovers are aware of the audience's presence. They use the audience as a means to show themselves off and also to express their plight at not being able to obtain their love. In other ways, they may also call on an audience member for help or advice, or even flirt with someone who is watching from their T.V.[3]

Variations on names

Since the Lovers are stock characters, the names of both the male and female lovers are used over and over again:


  • Fabrizio
  • Cinzio
  • Orazio
  • Silvio
  • Aurielo
  • Ottavio
  • Ortensio
  • Tristano
  • Lelio
  • Leandro
  • Florindo
  • Lindoro[3]
  • Flavio[6]


  • Angelica
  • Florinda, famously portrayed by Virginia Ramponi-Andreini who also used "La Florinda" as her stage name[7]
  • Flaminia
  • Isabella
  • Eularia
  • Silvia
  • Vittoria
  • Ortensia
  • Lavinia
  • Clarice
  • Auriela[3]


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