Tarocco storico del Palio di Pistoiapistoia1.jpg (19178 bytes)

This deck was drawn by prolific Tarot artist Amerigo Folchi*. The small folded sheet that comes with the deck is in Italian, but  the Encyclopedia of Tarot, Volume III provide a description of this deck. It is the source I use for much of the information here. You can also read about this deck in The New Tarot, by Rachel Pollack.

This deck tells the story of the Italian city of Pistoia and its festival (palio). The art is easily recognizable as Folchi's, and like all of his work, is detailed and colorful. The Major Arcana have the traditional names, albeit in Italian. The card name and number are in the bottom border. This is an art deck, and there are some interesting changes in the Major Arcana scenes. The Magician has an owl on his shoulder and has a variation of the Celtic Cross Spread on the table in front to f him. The Encyclopedia states that he "...is the charlatan alchemist, who sells predictions, knowing full well the power of suggestion." The High Priestess seems to be accepting the allegiance of a knight. The Chariot depicts the reliquary of the city's patrol saint being carried through the city by the faithful. There is no wheeled vehicle in the card. Justice (VIII) is a man seated with a sword in one hand a a scale in the other. Fortune is a blindfolded woman. The Encyclopedia of the tarot states that she awards the winners of the festival's tournaments. Strength is a man struggling with a dragon. Per the Encyclopedia it is an archetype of Saint George. The Hanged Man is headless - his head is on a shelf on the wall above his body. The Devil is tempting someone to steal religious relics, and shows a woman faced with trucks full of jewels with the devil looking on from the background. The Tower shows two knights in battle, with one on the ground being impaled. The World depicts the victory banner given to the winner of the tournament.

The suits are Bastoni, Denari, Coppe, and Spade. The court consists of Re, Regina, Cavallo, and Fante. The Minors are pips that show the requisite number of suit symbols on a checkered backgrounds - red and  white for Denari; green and white for Bastoni; red and green for Spade; and red and yellow for Coppe. The suits represent the four districts of the city and the colors are from their respective banners. The cards measure 4 7/16" X 2 9/16". The backs have a Sun, Lion and crest design in red and brown, with the publisher's name and the year of publication. It is packaged in a slip sleeve and box.

This deck would be primarily of interest to collectors. It is currently out of print.

See more cards from the Tarocco storico del Palio di Pistoia

Tarocco storico del Palio di Pistoia
Publisher: Solleone, 1985
Artist: Amerigo Folchi

* Il Tarocco di Amerigo Folchi, Omaggio a Erte



This page is Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson