Ettore Weber, 61, was killed at around 7.30pm last night while rehearsing at the Circo Orfei, Italy’s best-known circus.
Weber had reportedly been knocked down by one of the tigers when the other three pounced on him.
They then played with his body for around 30 minutes in front of stunned medics who were reportedly unable to help, according to La Gazzetta de Mezzogiorno.
Local media say fellow performers also tried to drive the tigers away in a desperate bid to save Weber.
An ambulance was called to the scene in Triggiano, southern Italy, but Weber was pronounced dead.
Medics claim Weber suffered severe trauma to his spine during the mauling.
Police have now launched an investigation into the tragedy.
Weber can be seen in images performing inside a cage with the animals, appearing to use a stick to control them.
The touring circus arrived in Triggiano in mid-June and was scheduled to remain there until July 14.
Weber had been rehearsing for an event organised by the BariBlu shopping centre.
According to la Repubblica, the event was specifically for younger children and had been named ‘A Journey on 5 Continents’.
The tigers have reportedly been seized and handed to the Zoo safari in the Brindisi area.