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In this article, we show how Walt Disney’s adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) deprived the story of its cultural identity and distorted its underlying messages and purpose. Perhaps for reasons that had to do with the geo-politics of the time, Disney’s 1940 cartoon version moved Collodi’s quintessentially Tuscan tale from its original setting to an ill-defined Alpine environment. The globally celebrated animated film has since come to overshadow the literary work to the extent that it dominates perceptions of the narrative. We argue that the purpose of the author was not to write a cautionary tale about the perils of mendacity, but to encourage his readers to become educated and develop a sense of responsibility towards others. Collodi’s fable is a complex and multi-layered literary work and one of its most salient, yet seldom remarked, aspects is that it is a satire of Italian particularities, and of certain institutions, that remains relevant to today’s Italy.