The commedia dell'arte is a type of improvised acting based around the masked stock characters of the merchant, lawyer and servant, whose earliest names were Magnifico, il Dottore and Zanni (Plate I). From 1571 onwards, it was spread throughout Europe by visiting troupes of professional Italian actors, whose members, activities and travels are, for the most part, well-documented. The way in which it reached Bavaria is less clear. Records, including three festival books, suggest that already as early as February 1568, when crown Prince Wilhelm married Princess Renée of Lorraine in Munich, the commedia dell'arte was an established and popular feature of Bavarian court festivities, to which it contributed in three contexts. Some of its costumes were used in masquerades; the Venetian Magnifico, or merchant, and his servant Zanni (the servant-master pair who became the central comic focus of the commedia dell'arte) appeared as masked clowns on several occasions, and on 8 March 1568 there was a full-length play whose description in Massimo Troiano's festival book is generally acknowledged as the earliest known comprehensive description of a complete commedia dell'arte performance.