Book size cm 17 x 24 - 512 pages with coloured illustrations

isbn 978-88-99841-85-0

An Italian Legacy from the Renaissance - History Art Symbology Literature 

edited by Andrea Vitali & Michael S. Howard

Appendix Museo Internazionale dei Tarocchi

This monumental work of 512 pages is enriched by hundreds of illustrations, mostly in color: cards, artworks, and documents. 1000+ footnotes provide both transcriptions of the original sources and, where available, where to find them on the Internet. These testimonies from Bologna and elsewhere in northern Italy create a history of interest not only to Tarot enthusiasts but to anyone wanting to know more about Italian literature, art, and popular culture.

Nothing like Bologna and the Tarot has ever been published in English and probably never will be again. The result of forty years of books, exhibitions, etc., by Andrea Vitali and ten years of collaboration with Michael Howard on translations, the focus is on Bologna, highlighting the city as one of the chief reference points for the birth of the Tarot. Together with essays by other authoritative experts, the result is a unique compendium of information, drawn from original 15th-19th century sources, for the most part unpublished since their own time, now translated into English by the editors. Here are some highlights (out of sixteen chapters overall).

·   Selected tarocchi appropriati, delightful literary works assigning the Triumphs (‘major arcana”) to various personages: noble ladies (in Pavia, Ferrara, and Bologna), church activists, street prostitutes, etc.

·   Numerous selections from Bolognese authors on Tarot themes, applying the cards and the game to the most varied situations, from love and war to politics and joke medical prescriptions.

·   New information and insights on the meaning and origin of the word tarocco (tarot in France). Likewise for the presence of the Magician - called El Bagatella early on -  in the procession of the Triumphs, situating it and other cards as steps on a “mystical ladder.”

·   Comparison of an 18th century Bolognese cartomancy document with a previously unassociated early divination system by Etteilla and the cards of both, leading to new conclusions.

·   Analysis of the clothing in the hand-painted “Charles V” Tarot, providing unique insights into the fashions of different cities and pointing to Bologna-Ferrara as a likely region of origin.  

·   Recently published documents on the origin and symbolism of the “Equal Papi” rule, whereby in Bologna the two Imperial and two Papal cards all had the same title and rank.

·   The production of Tarot cards in Bologna and the difficulties card makers faced.

·   “Pentagonal numbers” as an organizing principle for the Tarot sequence.