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sapienza  sapienza is offline
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Ancient Italian Tarot


I saw scans of this deck the other day, it looks wonderful. I've always like the idea of working with a Marseille style deck but could never seem to connect with the flatness of the images. I know this deck is different from the Marseille decks but I'm thinking I may have more luck with it. The characters seem to have a lot of expression.

Does anyone have or use it who could comment? Thanks
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Alan Ross  Alan Ross is offline
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I have a limited edition copy, published by Solleone in 1981, of an 1835 Italian Soprafino deck engraved by Carlo Della Rocca. Lo Scarabeo published their own edition of this deck as the "Classical Tarots." The "Ancient Italian Tarot," also published by Lo Scarabeo, is an 1880 deck based on the earlier Della Rocca deck. The artwork is pretty much the same for both the 1835 and the 1880 decks, although the Della Rocca deck is supposed to be more finely engraved than the 1880 version. If you're interested in the Ancient Italian Tarot, you might also want to check out the Classical Tarots. There is an excellent comparative review of the two decks at Tarot Passages:

http://www.tarotpassages.com/ancientclassicallb.htm

For "classical" decks, I prefer 19th Century Italian decks to Marseille decks. I love the finer engraving and the greater artistic license in the Italian decks, and I agree that they are also much more expressive and full of character. I think the Ancient Italian Tarot would be an excellent choice.

I have another Lo Scarabeo reproduction of a 19th Century Italian deck in the mail that I'm eagerly awaiting, the Tarot of the Master. It's a recolored edition of an 1893 deck engraved by Giovanni Vacchetta. The pips in this deck are more varied and have more character than the Carlo Della Rocca pips. If you like the Della Rocca, you might want to check out the Vacchetta as well:

http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards...of-the-master/

Alan
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teomat  teomat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapienza
I saw scans of this deck the other day, it looks wonderful. I've always like the idea of working with a Marseille style deck but could never seem to connect with the flatness of the images. I know this deck is different from the Marseille decks but I'm thinking I may have more luck with it. The characters seem to have a lot of expression.

Does anyone have or use it who could comment? Thanks
I love this deck too.

It has a wonderful, old-world feel to it, and yes, the characters are very expressive. The pips are a lot more decorative than the TdM (and the Classic Tarot also by Lo Scarabeo, IMO). The Classic is more pretty, but with it's harsh white borders and keywords, it loses a lot of it's magic and authentic feel.

As a substitute for the TdM, it's fine. But if you attach importance to the TdM finer details, then the alterations in the Italian may put you off. The Devil for example is considerably different from the TdM version.
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I agree with teomat...

I too adore this deck; those Italian Soprafinos really are my faves. I dont even think of them as "alternatives" to Marseilles. Take them on their own terms; they´re worth it. (I get a bit tired sometimes of Historical decks not being able - apparently - to get out of the shadow of the untouchable "Marseilles").

These are gorgeous. The Scarabeo Classical tarot has much more delicate, intricate detail in the engraving and sumptuous colouring. But those keywords - again - spoil it. And they´re a bit odd in places (the keywords). The Classical is very similar to the Meneghello Soprafino, a limited edition deck you can get from alida store. Same, delicate engravings. Im on the lookout for another Classical tarot so I can trim the borders off because theyd be a nice, bigger size than the Soprafino. I use them all, Ancient Italian, Classical, Soprafino. A lot.

I love the Ancient Italian deck and it´s my "knock-around" deck I take everywhere. And to be honest, compared to the other "super-fine" two I mention above, the colouring looks positively daubed.

But they´re such elegant decks. They´re how tarot cards are in my dreams, "real" tarot cards, emanating mystery and atmosphere. Im a real Italian tarot junkie.

The Ancient Tarot of Lombardy (another Scarabeo historical deck) is also exquisite. I recently received the Meneghello edition of this, the Tarot "Neoclassico" and it just takes your breath away... Next on my list; the Dotti. Another Soprafino.

The Tarot of the Master or Vacchetta, again gorgeous. But of a different ilk than the others....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Fanu
I too adore this deck; those Italian Soprafinos really are my faves. I dont even think of them as "alternatives" to Marseilles. Take them on their own terms; they´re worth it. (I get a bit tired sometimes of Historical decks not being able - apparently - to get out of the shadow of the untouchable "Marseilles").
Yes, I agree. But it's interesting how closely they try to match the TdM (and yet depart in other ways).

The court cards for example have the exact same poses as their TdM equivalents. I guess it shows how (at the time) the TdMs were considered THE standard tarot designs to be followed.

It's the little things like this that I find so fascinating in these historical decks. It's as if the TdM designers (and their Soprafino 'colleagues') 'knew' that it was important to portray the courts in these specific poses. Like they actually represented certain historic figures...

(pure speculation on my part I know!)
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Thanks so much for all the helpful information everyone.

I think I will try and get myself a copy of the Ancient Italian. While the Classical Tarots does look beautiful, I think the keywords and white borders would annoy me! It could be a candidate for trimming though, although with the images being to one side I'm not sure how this would go with the backs, not that I read reversals.

I know very little about these Italian decks but they are so gorgeous. It's hard to get your head around what's what and what is available when it comes to the historical decks. When you search for info most is about the Marseille decks and so I wasn't sure where these fitted in. Thanks again for the information, it's been such a help.

Alan, I had seen scans of the Tarot of the Master before and it was on my wish-list. It looks such an interesting deck. I hope you enjoy yours when it arrives.
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They fit in aesthetically for me in that they are fine-line etching rather than the woodblocks of the Marseilles. Ive always found it incredible that the Conver Marseilles is from 1760 (or 1761 depending on you point of view) and it looks so much earlier. It really does look like it comes from the Medieval world. The 1725 Minchiate Etruria is even earlier and is much more "sophisticated" in terms of technique. But I digress.

I just wanted to say good luck with your choice. You´re right (IMO!) to find the Classical´s white borders and titles annoying. I have the Classical and just - FYI - ithe back is a sepia image of the Star, and Ive looked closely and if you cut it, you´ll trim the pouring urn ever so slightly. It wouldnt look symmetrical, which is why Ive refrained from trimming mine and only will do when I get a 2nd copy because - after all - the colours of the front are just so vibrant. Im one of those fanatical border-haters (when they´re with keywords) but even Im getting used to the Classical ones now. I find that I want to use the Classical more and more because it really is so beautiful. Ive also trimmed the Tarot of the Master and the back of that (Magician card) is ever so slightly lob-sided, but you get used to it.

Good luck!
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RiccardoLS  RiccardoLS is offline
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Regarding the Tarocchi Classici
While I don't like keywords on the cards, I found they have an advantage: the querient has an immediate feeling of the meaning of a card, even without the cartomancer intepretation. It helps him focus.

ric
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I trimmed my Classical Tarot. I couldn't stand those key words. It was all I saw when I looked at the cards. It's in the index of trimmed decks thread if anyone is interested in what they look like. It's a very beautiful deck once you remove those garish lettering's.

Hooked
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SO glad you pointed me in the direction of that, Hooked, I keep looking at my Classical and wondering. Now I see just how much better they look. The ones with the card face up look fantastic and excellently done. But there is a picture of the back which looks unfinished? (bottom left) As if one side hasn´t been rounded (?) Did you just snip off the keyword side and not touch the other side?
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