Tarocchi Fine Dalla Torre

From Tarotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tarocchi Fine Dalla Torre II - High Priestess


Tarocchi Fine Dalla Torre in Bologna is a full 78 card historical reproduction presented by Museo dei Tarocchi, which comes nestled on a bed of straw in a stylish wooden box with title card, hand-stamped with hot wax seal, fastened to the lid. The thick cardstock feels sturdy yet softly textured.

The Tarot Museum had long the goal of publising an important Italian deck that hadn't been available in contemporary times . Something not too distant from the model that gave rise to the 18th century iconic illustrations of 'Tarot of Marseilles', well-known to Tarotists and consequently extremely influential over decks published during subsequent centuries. They decided upon this 17th century Bolognese deck which fortunatly was passed down nearly complete and in fairly good condition. The only known example of this deck is preserved as the “Tarot Bolonais XVIIe s.” by the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

The original card size was only 105 x 43 mm. (4.1” x 1.7”) and the Majors were printed unnumbered (although became numbered by hand afterwards). In this new edition the card size is 2.75" Wide x 5.75" Long (7 x 14.6 cm.) which makes viewing details that much more enjoyable.

Being a Bolognese style deck, at the time of the original publication meant it would be reduced from the traditional Tarot deck of 78 cards, to only 62 (eliminating the Minor Arcana numbered: 2, 3, 4 and 5 of each suit), following the custom in vogue since at least the mid-16th century in Bologna. Of the original 62 cards, only 6 remain lost to time: 6, 7, 8 & 9 of Swords, the Queen of Cups and the Queen of Coins. For this Tarot Museum production, all 78 cards have been included, (so one has the option of reducing it to its original Bolognese number or using a full set).

According to text in the accompanying leaflet, shared by Giovanni Pelosini (from his groundbreaking work, TAROT MIRRORS OF INFINITY),this deck is similar to modern successors, such as the Tarocchino Bolognese, but at the same time, it has many resemblances to its ancestors of the 16th century (with the notable exception of the Devil card); at least with regards to the twelve surviving images of Trumps on two incomplete sheets from the last decade of the 15th century. The first is in the Bibliotheque de l'Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Masson Collection, of Paris (uncatalogued). The second is in Musée du Louvre, Rothschild Collection, LR 3804, also of Paris.

Continuing with details from the included leaflet, in this ancient deck there are still traditional depictions of the High Priestess, Empress, Emperor and Pope, that were viewed unfavorably (at that time), by authorities of the Papal States, and which were subsequently replaced in Tarocchino Bolognese; first by two Popes and two Emperors (by at least 1669) and eventually by images of the four "Moors", during the late 17th century. From the perspective of symbolism, this deck shows interesting details, particularly when compared to the traditional portrayal of the cards. The High Priestess and Pope are perhaps the most remarkable cards of the Major Arcana. The High Priestess holds Keys and makes a blessing with a Latin gesture, while the Pope has a closed book and holds a cross. The latter also reveals a stigmata on his hands, and has a youthful, beardless face that is decidedly feminine. The details of his Papal Tiara (a triple crown without button or cross) suggest a hypothetical design dating between 1342 and 1503.

All face cards of the Major Arcana are interesting from a historic and symbolic perspective, while the Court Cards consistently reflect complementary qualities of courtly pairings in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The distinction between male suits (Wands and Swords) and female (Cups and Coins) is all too evident with the obvious presence of two female chambermaids. However, there are many other significant details, such as attire, attributes, poses and an ageless appearance. The 10 of Coins has the inscription “CARTE FINE DALLA TORRE IN BOLOGNA” with 17th century typography (displayed vertically). Most likely one of many heirs of an abundant production, documented in Bologna with the manufacturer Pietro Bonozzi since at least 1477, while their actual presence was certified in town since at least 1459 (refer to the Tarot Travel Guide of Italy, 2015, page 50, by Morena Poltronieri, Ernesto Fazioli & Arnell Ando).

Creative Process of Recreating this Ancient Deck...

From April 2014 Morena Poltronieri and Ernesto Fazioli of Museo dei Tarocchi began the challenging task of returning this precious Bolognese Tarot from the 17th century back to production. The original fifty-six cards of the Bibliotheque Nationale (in Paris) were engraved on wood with a colorful façade. Poltronieri and Fazioli worked on the images digitally, through various color definition phases, both with pastels and by utilizing computer graphics. They defined the contours and colors using professional pastels. The refined images were then set in Photoshop to clean up any smudges caused by time and wear. One of the goals was not to interfere creatively with the look of these cards, but instead to preserve their original freshness, which was so characteristic of the era, while also being a distinctive work. The end result is respectful of the unique designs, contours and colors, while adding a greater definition to the beauty and charm inherent in the original imagery. The missing Queens (Cups and Coins) were then redesigned and processed through Photoshop, referring to the double sided, Court Cards of 18th century, Tarocchino Bolognese, that is part of the permanent collection of the Tarot Museum.


The card backs feature two winged angels. As shared in the leaflet, one is the classic Cupid with bow and arrow, while the other points to a large tree with a heart hanging like fruit. This is probably a reference to the myth of Apollo and Daphne; both struck by the arrows of Eros, but with opposite results. Apollo fell instantly in love with Daphne, while she flatly refused his advances, even after a long chase through the woods. So as not to give in to the passions of the ‘God of Oracles', the desperate nymph prayed for an escape and was thus transformed into the sweetly scented laurel plant, hereafter known as "Daphne" in Greek and which consequently became the symbolic tribute to the great poets of Ancient Greece.


  • Number of Cards: 78 + Title Card
  • Majors are Numbered But Untitled
  • Cards: Images Have a Light Border
  • Leaflet: Deck Research Done by Professor Giovanni Pelosini
  • Numbered & Signed by Morena Poltronieri
  • Cards on Thick Matte Cardstock
  • Card Back Design Not Reversible
  • Card Size: 2.75" Wide x 5.75" Long - 7 x 14.6 cm.
  • Limited to 200 Sets (Numbered & Signed)
  • Packaging: Wooden Box with Sliding Lid & Title Card with Museum's Hot Wax Seal on Top

Deck Theme

XVII Century Tarot of Bologna, Italy


Summer 2016


Publisher's websites

  • Museo dei Tarocchi Bookshop:[1]
  • Arnell's Mini Site: Write-ups w/pics of Tarot Museum's Decks & Books: [2]

Online Deck Images - links

  • Specs with 21 images of Tarocchi Fine Dalla Torre: [3]