Puppets shows and story-telling have always been very popular in all Italy along the centuries, and in Venice in particular during the Carnival.
But, as we see in this picture, this peculiar show is made mostly for attracting the crowds, put them together and at ease, and then starting to propose the sale of a "special balsam", or a "long life elixir", to suckers that might believe in these things.
Making a comparison with nowadays commercials in today's TV seems just too obvious …
"Col far balar da un Omo i buratini,
E col mostrar sto privilegio antigo
El mio balsamo vendo ai babuini."
"By making a puppet show
and showing this ancient entertainment
I sell my ointment to the suckers"