American Circus in Italy

American Circus
Local name Circo Americano

Last elephant left2021
Address Fam.Togni, Circo Americano, Via Germania
Place Verona
Country Italy

Directors: Daniele Togni (director)
: Adela Togni (assistant director)
-2021: Ingrid Nawrot (assistant director)
1963-1976: Bruno Togni (director)
1963-1976: Willy Togni (director)
1963-1976: Enis Togni (director)
1976: Flavio Togni (director)

Key People -: Christina Togni (animal trainer)
-: Bruno Togni Jr. (animal trainer)
-: Daniele Togni Jr. (animal trainer)
-: Andrea Togni (animal trainer)
-: Adriana Togni (animal trainer)
-: Silvana Togni (animal trainer)


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
1963: Willy Togni
(elephant trainer)
1963: Bruno Togni
(elephant trainer)
1963: Ferdinando Togni
(elephant trainer)
1963-: Erwin Bauer
(elephant trainer)
1971-1981: Banda Vidane
(elephant trainer)

Elephant keepers 1971-1981: Bodidasa Vidane
Record history
History of updates2023-06-14

Latest document update2023-06-14 16:30:09
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American Circus, located at Fam.Togni, Circo Americano, Via Germania, in Verona, Italy , was founded in 1963. The last elephant left in 2021.

Comments / picturesThe sons of Ferdinando Togni were Willy Togni, Enis Togni, and Bruno Togni, and they founded Circo Americano in 1963.

Willy Togni was considered one of the greatest elephant trainers of the last generation. Willy was the teacher of his nephew Flavio Togni. Willys sons are Marco Togni and Loris Togni.

Records about American Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at
In 1963 in Turin Willy Togni presented with Gunther Gebel (later Gunther Gebel-Williams) a Group of 26 elephants, they united the Williams and Togni elephants in a single act. 11 of them were from Williams, the other owned by Togni: This is one of the largest ever elephant presentations for a single routined act in a same space.

American Circus in Italy ItalyThe peoples in the ring are the brothers of Enis Togni, Bruno Togni and Willy Togni, their father Ferdinando Togni and Gunther Gebel Williams. This was also the world premiere of the Togni-Castilla-Williams association of Circo Americano (the name existed in Spain by 1956, but as a one-ring by Castilla).

When separated for the summer season, Americano elephants was alternately presented by Bruno Togni, Willy Togni or Erwin Bauer. Flavio Togni took over in 1976.

Enis\'s other son, Daniele Togni was in charge of the management of Circo Americano (renamed American Circus in the 1990s), which was still touring Europe and remained a major player in the business until 2021.
Raffaele De Ritis, Italy.

From an old version of, which is not anymore existing:

Arrived in Europe in 1958, the American Circus made its debut in Spain, produced by the company Feijo Castilla, still today one of the most important Spanish entrepreneurs. Arturo Castilla then becomes the president for European operations of the Circus which, before returning to America in 1960, continues the tour through Portugal and France. For the new European tour of the Circus which in 1962 touches Germany, Arturo Castilla relies on Carola Williams, owner of one of the largest German circuses.

In 1963 it was the turn of Italy. The American Circus debuts in Turin on the evening of November 24, the first stop on a tour that will take it to Milan, Genoa, Rome and Naples. The show, which in line with the American tradition takes place on three tracks, is a resounding success, so much so that the lack of stable structures where to perform, in the rest of Europe, convinces the management to build a tent capable of 6,000 seats. For the organization, assembly and movement of what increasingly resembles a traveling city, Ferdinando Togni is consulted who, with his family, is also involved in the organization and promotion of the most prestigious Soviet shows, such as the Circus of Moscow, the Bolshoi Ballets and the Red Army Choir. In the same years, the Togni Group produced the famous show "Disney on Parade", the National Circus of Mexico and the National Circus of Spain.

Finally in 1976, the Castilla and Carola Williams retired, the American Circus becomes entirely the property of the Togni family. That same year the tour takes them to Genoa; Ranieri Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco attends the show: fascinated by the number of elephants, he hires the Togni family for a show in the Principality. Shortly after, Grimaldi, meeting the American Circus in San Remo, proposes to the Togni to participate in the International Circus Festival which is held every year in Montecarlo: Flavio Togni, star of the Circus, wins the Silver Clown with his number of elephants. This is how the Togni even became consultants for the organization of the Festival, until 1988.

The meeting with Kenneth Feld dates back to 1989. The American "king" of family shows - producer of shows such as Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Walt Disney World On Ice and Sigfrid & Roy Show - has indeed reached the fame of these artists. He then contacts them, proposing that they become the stars of the great show that will celebrate the 120th anniversary of Circus Barnum. It is not an easy choice for Enis Togni and his family, it will take 9 months of family "advice" to make the decision; however, the offer is so exciting that it cannot be refused. Thus begins the adventure of the Togni in the United States where a long tour in the sports halls of all America - here in fact the Circus does not perform under the big top - will bring the professionalism of these artists to the attention of an increasingly vast audience and more and more fond of recognizing Flavio Togni, above all, as his favorite. However, part of the family remained in Italy, and continued to work for the return of the Circus; the structures are renewed, the tours have to be planned, everything must be ready so that men and animals start working again as if they had never left.

In December 1991 the American Circus arrives in Europe to undertake a tour that includes Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland and therefore also Italy. The American Circus in our country from 1991 to today has presented the "show from another planet" in Naples (1991), Rome (1992), Florence (1993), Palermo (1994), Catania and Milan (1995), and Bari (1996). He returned three times to Germany and then also to France and Belgium.

1996 marks a historic event for the American Circus, an Italy-America-Russia co-production for the largest circus festival on Red Square in Moscow. The vehicles and structures of Enis Togni and David Jhon Morton\'s American Circus arrive on Red Square
where they will be hosted for a great show that will see conducting artists and circus enthusiasts from all over the world. On that occasion Enis Togni had a six-pointed ivory-colored mega chapieteu built without any pole inside. An innovative and highly technological structure that opens new horizons to the modern circus. Today the American Circus in the major squares around the world is housed under this mega structure.

In 1997 the World Tour starts which takes the American to the most important cities of Slovenia and Croatia and then landed again in Holland for a three-month tour.

In November 1999 the new stars and stripes show produced by David John Morton and Enis Togni started from Cologne in Germany.

In December 2000 the tour of the new millennium which takes the title of "New Millenium show" arrives in Italy aboard the two trains used to transport the American Circus.

In 2002 the new adventure of the American Circus to the Future began, a brand new show that will bring the star company to cover the railway track of half of Europe for a long tour. In Italy, in 2004 the return to the Palasports (Florence, Livorno and Paris) and a tour after 21 years in Sardinia should be noted. 2005 marks a new adventure for American Circus with yet another production entitled Bellissimo! For the Togni is therefore about to start a new great adventure that will remain in the history of the legendary stars and stripes circus.

References for records about American Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). American Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

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