Commedia dell'Arte is an Italian form of stage acting that involves improvisation based on a pre-determined theme or scenario. Commedia dell'Arte masks require the actor to portray changing emotion through body language. Jumping about and the use of vulgar gestures is characteristic of Commedia dell'Arte.

Similar to Nogaka, strong character types are depicted through the masks. Among them are Arlecchino, the acrobatic, childlike character and Pedrolino, who was the precursor to the modern clown. There are many regional variations of these characters.