Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts.
The Piedmont region has one of the oldest tarot traditions in Italy. Its geographic location made it the crossroads where the playing card traditions of Italy and eastern France mingled. Below are articles on the Piedmont tradition and reviews of individual decks.
Another historically important Piedmontese deck produced by Giordano Berti just arrived in my mailbox. Like Berti’s other productions, this deck is housed in a sturdy handmade box lined with felt and covered with marbled paper. The cards are protected by a sparkling gold bag and are accompanied by a booklet with detailed historical background. Read more
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
I’m totally enchanted by Osvaldo Menegazzi’s latest production, a handcrafted facsimile of a Piedmont-style deck from the late 19th century. The deck was originally printed by Strambo in the town of Varallo on the Sesia River in eastern Piedmont.
The cards have a charming, folk art feel with deep, rich colors printed on smooth card stock that feels very nice to shuffle. At 2.5 x 4.5 inches (6.5 x 11.5 cm) they are a bit smaller than standard cards but not small enough to be called a mini deck.
The deck is housed in a very sturdy, handmade box covered with dark-brown marbled paper. A Fool card is pasted on the cover and finished with red sealing wax. Inside, there’s a folded paper with standard Il Meneghello divinatory meanings. In addition, there’s a very brief discussion of the Piemontese style in English and Italian, and a title card with a handwritten number. 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