• The most famous of the Zanni characters of the Italiancommedia dell'arte. Wearing a black mask and dressed in amulticoloured patched suit, he was alternately foolish and quick-witted.From this ragged comic servant developed the more elegant EnglishHarlequin. The first Italian Arlecchino was probably Tristano Martinelli(1557 - 1630); another famous interpreter of the part was GiuseppeBiancolelli (1637 - 88). The character was known as Arlequinin later French comedy and was then transformed in the early 18thcentury into Harlequin, the magic-making lover of Columbinein the English harlequinade.