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Il Giardino dei Tarocchi (The Tarot Garden)By Anthony Parente
The idea for this visually appealing garden is that of French American artist Niki de Saint Phalle who was inspired by Gaudi's Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain, Parco dei Mostri in Bomarzo, Tuscany, Palais Idéal by Cheval in Hauterives, France, and the Watts Towers by Rodia in Los Angeles, California. Wanting to create something similar she based her park off of the tarot cards as Niki believed in the ancient wisdom of the cards and felt it was useful to reflect on those teachings. Her dream became a reality when Carlo and Nicola Caracciolo offered a parcel of their land to Niki and in 1978, she laid out the groundwork for her Giardino dei Tarocchi. Each sculpture was created by welding iron rods together by the artist's husband Jean Tinguely and local craftsmen. A mesh netting was placed over the rods, cement was sprayed on and then covered with mirrors, ceramics, and glass.
Each sculpture is her own unique interpretation of the Major Arcana, which includes The Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Emperor, Hierophant, Choice (Lovers), Chariot, Justice, Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Strength, Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, Devil, Falling Tower, Star, Moon, Sun, Judgment, World and Fool. The largest and most striking of the sculptures is the Empress, which is nearly 15 meters tall (49 feet) and is portrayed as a Sphinx. Within the Empress an apartment was furnished so that Niki could have a place to live as she worked on her dream. For over 17 years she collaborated with artists to complete this fantasy world nestled within the beautiful Tuscan countryside. To help separate these two worlds Niki turned to her friend Mario Botta. Mario designed an entrance, which was a long thick tuff wall that included a circular opening in the middle, that acted as your passageway between both worlds
For hours, ticket information and directions you can visit the official site of the Il Giardino dei Tarocchi.
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