Paolo Bedini

After the death of Enrico Rastelli in 1931, many jugglers who were influenced by Rastelli’s style debuted on the stages of Europe. These included Bob Ripa, Paolo Pilletto, Italo Medini, Eduordo Raspini, and many others. However, the juggler who had perhaps the truest claim to the title of Rastelli’s successor was his nephew, Paolo Bedini.

Paolo Bedini was born in Rostov, Russia in 1914. While the Bedini- Tafani Family of performers was on tour in Russia, they adopted Paolo.  Through this adoption, the boy became the nephew of Enrico Rastelli. The young Paolo was so enamored by the skills of Rastelli that he began practicing to copy them at an early age. He was already a talented balancing and acrobatic performer, so he took to juggling quite quickly.

When Rastelli died, Bedini was 15 and was already performing as a solo juggler.

Bedini’s act included heading a ball while jumping rope, various body rolls and balances with two large balls, ball spinning, balancing three balls in a stack while balancing other large balls on his foot and head, rolls and balances with one ball, lots of ball and mouth stick work, six rings while balancing a ball on a head pedestal and spinning a ring on his ankle, six rings while heading a ball, some great work with a rugby ball, heading two balls, four sticks, and various statue tricks.

Paolo Bedini had a long and successful career that lasted for almost four decades. He was an early influence on juggling icon Ernest Montego, as well as French juggler Chris Christiansen. He also helped coach well-known juggler Gypsy Gruss early in her career. He retired in 1968 and devoted himself to working with his daughter Mimi, who was a talented tightrope walker. He passed away in 1974.  The following videos testify to his remarkable skills. Click here to see a brief video of Bedini performing three tricks and then watch his full act below.

Although Bedini is often just mentioned as Rastelli’s nephew, the above videos show that he earned his position as a successor to Enrico’s fame as one of the great jugglers of the twentieth century.

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 three books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

Leave a Reply