The Tarot Garden (Giardino dei Tarocchi) is a unique combination of human imagination and Tuscan nature.
The garden is located on the southern slope of the Garavicchio hill in the Tuscan Maremma, a few kilometers away from the town of Capalbio. The Franko-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle created it. Park Guel by the great architect Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona inspired her. The construction of this extraordinary garden in Tuscany started in the year of 1979. It was opened to public seventeen years later.
The Tarot garden as a work of art is a combination of landscape design, sculpture and architecture.
22 giant sculptures which symbolize the Major Arcana of the Tarot cards are located in the garden. They are “Fool”, “Magician”, “High Priestess”, “Empress”, “Emperor”, “Hierophant”, “Lovers”, “Chariot”, “Justice”, “Hermit”, “Wheel Fortune”, “Strength”, “Hanged”, “Death”, “Time”, “Devil”, “Tower”, “Star”, “Moon”, “Sun”, “Judgment”, and “World”.
All sculptures have a very unusual construction. Their frame is made of plexiform metallic sticks covered with cement. Mirror mosaics, decorative glasses and ceramics were put on top of it afterwards. The choice of decorative material played a very important role.
Vivid colors, patches of light, sky reflection, water going and wind playing, all this creates an effect of constant going and change. That is why the Tarot garden always arouses new impressions which are almost impossible to capture in pictures and hard to describe in word.
The Tarot garden is surrounded by a wall of tuff which has a round hole instead of gates. The creator of it, Mario Botta, put the thick wall and the unusual entrance here to underline a distinct border between magic of the garden and reality of everyday life.
Crossing this symbolic border, visitors of the garden get to a path which leads to the central square. Sculptures of “Magician” and “High Priestess” tower above it. Paths going from the square invite to get acquainted with other heroes of the mysterious cards. Each one is worth paying attention. However, you can’t but notice the Arcana of “Empress”. It was created as a sphinx. This sculpture is remarkable not only for being a masterpiece of art, but also for having a small apartment inside where Niki de Saint Phalle lived while working at the Tarot garden.
The sculptures created by the imagination of Niki de Saint Phalle and her coauthors charm with their uniqueness and mysterious depth. The Tarot garden is what you can’t miss while spending a vacation in Tuscany.
The Tarot garden is open daily from 14 30 to 19 30 May through October. From November to April it receives only groups of 15 people booked in advance. Keep in mind that the Tarot garden is closed on Sundays and holidays. Besides, by the creator’s courtesy, every first winter Saturday from 9 to 13 the admission to the Tarot garden is free.
Kids under seven years old and handicapped are admitted free. Kids from 7 to 16, students and seniors over 65 get a discount.