Piedmont-style tarot has been on my mind lately, with decks and information popping up unexpectedly. Toward the bottom I’ve listed links to the six blog posts I’ve done so far on Piemontese decks.
I recently saw one of Lo Scarabeo’s reprints of Guala’s 1860 deck for sale online. I was tempted to round out my Piedmont collection, but it was the version with card names in four languages on a wide border at the bottom of each card. This ruined it for me. Since the deck was over-priced, I think the seller was mistaking it for one of the better versions without the extra border. Read more
Etteilla, tarot super-star of mid-1700s Paris, claimed he studied tarot from 1757 to 1765 at the urging of “an aged Piedmontese”. In his memoirs, a Parisian actor who was Etteilla’s contemporary, describes visiting Italian fortune tellers in Paris. It’s not a stretch to imagine Etteilla learning card reading from one of them.
If this elderly Piemontese teacher was in his 60s in 1757, then he was born a little before 1700. He may have learned to read tarot in his youth in the 1720s from a teacher who could have learned the cards around 1680. This would make Etteilla the bridge to a very old Italian card reading tradition. Read more
Giordano Berti, creator of a facsimile 15th-century Sola Busca deck, has made another treasure available to collectors — a very beautiful 19th-century Piedmont-style deck.
The Piedmont region of Italy has a vigorous, centuries-long tradition of tarot deck production. Its unique spin on the Tarot de Marseille is documented back to the late 18th century. In 1832, card maker Stefano Vergnano of Turin was honored by the Chamber of Commerce for the quality of his playing cards. Berti’s deck re-creates a Vergnano tarot deck printed at that time. Read more