Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden, Italy

The French artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002) was inspired to build the Tarot Garden (or Il Giardino dei Tarocchi) after visiting Antoni Gaudí´s Parc Güell in Barcelona. In 1979 she purchased a plot of land in Garavicchio, Tuscany and worked for the next twenty years designing and constructing the buildings and monumental sculptures that represent twentytwo characters from tarot cards.

The amount of work, passion, love and collaboration is evident as soon as you arrive. The mosaics of mirror and handmade tiles that cover the a majority of the work is startling. I can only describe it as a brilliant visual explosion that keeps on giving with further delights and surprises around every corner. Walking through, up, over and around the works allows you to get lost in the art and it feels like nothing is off-limits. One path that leads you around the garden has the following inscription which was etched into the drying concrete:

“If life is a game of cards we are born without knowing the rules yet we must play our hand throughout the ages. Poets, philosophers, alchemists, artists have devoted themselves to discovering their meaning.”

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