Review by ihcoyc
This deck is a reproduction of an Italian deck
from the 1880's, which in turn was based in part on the
1835 deck by Carlo Della Rocca. It has rapidly become
my favourite traditional deck, which for me means
that it is my favourite deck of all time.
in this deck are soundly based on Marseilles
symbolism, if not always on Marseilles design principles.
What you get, at least in the images on the cards,
almost always directly reflects the Marseilles tradition.
There are some typically Italian modifications,
though: the Magician (I - Il Bagatto) becomes an artisan,
probably a cobbler --- at least I think that is a cobbler's
last on his table. He wears an apron, tying him not
only to the practice of skilled trades, but also to
The Lovers (VI - Gli Amanti) have the typical
couple and Cupid; they stand before a crowned woman in
ermine robes, and the man grasps the hilt of his sword.
The Wheel of Fortune (X - La Ruota) is an intriguing
design, adding a torch to one of the posts of the Wheel,
and placing at the head a crowned, winged figure who
wields the thunderbolts of Jove and a cornucopia. The
fruit of the cornucopia falls down the wheel, and is
pursued by a fox.
Death (XIII - Il Tredici) is prettily
traditional in design, the skeleton's scythe moving among
crowns, mitres, swords, and other emblems of worldly
vanity. Unfortunately, the card has been given a name,
and that name means "the Thirteenth".
The Devil (XV -
Il Diavolo) is a lively design of a trident-wielding
Satan with bristly whiskers, sitting in flame on the
backs of other monstrous figures.
The Moon (XVIII -
La Luna) has a whimsical touch: the lobster is
present, but appears on a platter. This makes the fact
that the dogs ignore the feast and continue to howl at
the moon slightly improbable.
All in all, the
traditional symbols are present, or at least the cards are a
reasonable artistic variation on the traditional symbols.
The advantage of this deck is that the traditional
images are here engraved by a fine artist, rather than
being done in blocky woodcut shapes.
This deck is
worth comparing to another available deck, also
published now by Lo Scarabeo, called "The Classical Tarots".
This is a recoloured reprint of Della Rocca's
original engravings. I like this one better. In the
Classical Tarots, the fields of the images have been
narrowed slightly to allow for the printing of keywords
along the border. The court cards have been redone in
this deck, and are much more attractive than Della
Rocca's originals. The colouring of the cards is somewhat
more muted here.
All in all, either would be an
excellent traditional deck. This deck gets you mostly
faithful Marseilles symbolism in a more attractive and
See card images from the Ancient Italian Tarot
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