In the commune of Capalbio, in the extreme south of Tuscany, you can find a strange and fascinating garden. The Tarot Garden(Giardino dei Tarocchi) was created by Niki de Saint Phalle, the French artist who made her name thanks to this park, which features 22 sculptures representing the principal figures in a deck of tarot cards. LocalNomad introduces you to this extraordinary place just 2 hours from Rome, where the surreal blends with elegance and nature…
Niki de Saint Phalle, born Catherine Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint-Phalle, discovered art as a form of rebellion against the conservative values of her family and soon joined the Nouveau Réalisme movement. During a stay in Barcelona she first encountered the beautiful works of Gaudi, including Parc Güell. This inspired her to create a fantastical garden, something truly spectacular.
From 1979, Niki de Saint Phalle dedicated herself to the construction of the Tarot Garden in Tuscany with the help of her husband, Jean Tinguely, along with numerous artist friends and anonymous well-wishers. The garden covers almost half a hectare and is home to 22 impressive sculptures that stand up to 15 meters in height, each one symbolizing a different major arcana (trump card) in the tarot deck.
For example, the sculpture of ‘The High Priestess’, which represents feminine intuition, pays homage to Bomarzo Monster Park (Parco dei Mostri). Water from her mouth flows into ‘The Wheel of Fortune’. Behind her stands ‘The Magician’, who represents intelligence and creation, and is covered entirely in mirrors.
‘The Empress’ is just as impressive, especially knowing that this sculpture is inhabitable! In fact, inside there is an apartment with a large living room, a bathroom and a small bedroom. Niki de Saint Phalle called this sculpture home for a number of years in order to complete her ambitious project.
Various other fabulous sculptures populate the Tarot Garden, including those which symbolize the tarot cards of ‘The World’, ‘The Judgment’, ‘Justice’, ‘Strength’, ‘Death’ and ‘Temperance’. All unique, enigmatic and truly fascinating.
The Tarot Garden was opened to the public in 1998, three years before its founder’s sad passing. One lasting wish of Niki de Saint Phalle was that there would be no guided tour of her works, enabling visitors to explore and interpret the sculptures as they wish. In addition, in order to avoid mass tourism, the Tarot Garden in Tuscany is only open from April 1st through to October 15th. From November to March, the Tarot Garden is closed apart from on the first Saturday of each month during which entrance is free.
If you would like to visit the Tarot Garden in Tuscany and admire the amazing sculptures with your own eyes, then why not rent one of our exclusive apartments with Local nomad Rome and enjoy a journey like no other through the marvelous world of Niki de Saint Phalle. Buon viaggio!