Avondo Brothers Addendum
I got very excited when I saw this deck (I Tarocchi Serravalle, published by Avondo) in the Belgian Tarot Museum’s video on Facebook. I thought Avondo might still be in business and printing contemporary Piemontese decks.
But I found the deck on Italian eBay and discovered it’s a trumps-only version of the deck sold by Lo Scarabeo as the Ancient Italian Tarot. It’s called a mini deck, but no dimensions were given. I’ve learned that in other languages “mini” often means 22 cards rather than small in size. I’ve seen it listed for sale on other Italian websites, but have never seen the publisher listed.
I wondered if Avondo Brothers is still in business and printing decks. A quick search on Google.it told me Avondo had been a prominent family in Serravalle, and in the card printing business, from the 1700s to the 20th century. The family started acquiring property around Serravalle in the mid-1700s, and by 1800 they owned the local castle and were one of the most prominent families in the region. Throughout the 1800s they operated a huge, electric and steam-operated factory that dominated the town of Serravalle. The deck reproduced by Lo Scarabeo as the Ancient Italian Tarot was printed in 1880 at Avondo’s economic height, after they had incorporated and changed their name from Fratelli Avondo to Cartiera Italiana.
By mid-twentieth century, the company was falling behind the times. They closed in 1982. Was the deck in the Belgian museum re-printed before the factory closed, or is this a Lo Scarabeo production? Since this is one of my favorite reading decks, I’m going to track this edition down.
Here’s an article on Della Rocca’s soprafino tarot design that’s currently reproduced by Lo Scarabeo and Il Meneghello