The Ferronis – Father and Son Juggling Stars

Vittorio Ferroni was known as the Rastelli on Horseback. Born in Italy, but from a long line of Russian circus performers, he began juggling on horseback in 1909 and was a very popular circus performer in the 1920s and 1930s. He performed many amazing routines while standing on the back of a galloping horse. He spun a basin on a chair, which spun on a bottle held in his hand.

He famously played the mandolin while he bounces a large ball on his head in time to the music.

He did back crosses  and other tricks with three torches while circling the ring.

One of Vittorio’s most popular routines was his ball and mouth stick work, which included toss ins from his wife or son.

He performed the famous plate and bottle routine on horseback as well.

Vittorio Ferroni also performed with a tennis racket and balls.

When Vittorio’s son Leonardo became a teen, the father and son put together a duo comedy juggling act, which you can see below in three very rare photos from the archives of the Museum of Juggling History.

Eventually, Vittorio stepped aside to assist Leonardo, who became famous for his technical juggling, which included stage work, juggling on a freestanding ladder, and antipodism (foot juggling).


In the 1950s, the family retired to Stockholm, Sweden. Leonardo’s props are now on display in the Swedish Circus Museum in Ingelstrade. You can some of them in the following video, at 1:48.



David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-six books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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