The Zerbini Family Circus

The Zerbini Family Circus came to town - and we went to check it out, but not without doing a little research first. A few things we learned about the family:

- The Zerbini family started performing with a circus in 1763 in Italy.

- Around the year 1900, Arturo Zerbini moved his family from Italy to North Africa. Born in North Africa (a French colony at the time) his children were given French citizenship. For the next 50 years, the Zerbini family circus traveled extensively throughout Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey.

- In 1953, Charles Zerbini, along with brothers Louie, Pierre, and Antoine, became the first and only family ever to cross the Sahara desert with a circus. The 21-day, 1,900kilometer trip meant all necessary supplies and fuel had to be carried along with them. Especially cumbersome was the feed and water for the animals. (Amazingly, there were no casualties. There were numerous mechanical breakdowns, however.)

- 1n 1961, Charles moved his family to the United States to join the Mills Brothers Circus. The journey took 11 days. Caring for their exotic cats in the cargo hold of the ship was, apparently, very difficult and quite “aromatic.”

More photos and family history here:

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