The Tocci Brothers

Courtesy of the collection of Steven Bolin
While some sideshow performers had careers spanning decades, others stayed in the spotlight for brief periods of time before vanishing into obscurity. One such example of the latter is the Tocci brothers, Giovanni and Giacomo. Polar opposites in personality, the conjoined twins spent their lives attached at the spine. Giacomo (pictured on the left) was described as slow and intellectually dull, while Giovani (pictured on the right) was described as lively and quick witted.1

Each boy controlled a foot, so walking was impossible. And as a result they were often photographed in a chair, as seen in this cabinet card.

Born in Locano, Italy, their father began touring them around Europe as infants and brought them to the United States in 1891. But as soon as they became of age, they retired, moved to Italy, married sisters and lived in seclusion.

According to Mark Twain, they were in the inspiration for his story Pudd’nhead Wilson, the original title being, Those Extraordinary Twins.2

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