Ernesto, Arnell & Morena in the Museo dei Tarocchi

Arnell Ando's visit to the Museo dei Tarocchi, and Il Meneghello, in the Fall of 2007

I want to share how the Tarot Museum visit went but I’m having trouble putting the sheer splendor of the place into words…it was truly magical and awe inspiring. Museo dei Tarocchi is in a restored stone building over 400 years old. It is an hour’s train ride from Bologna, in a small hilltop village, surrounded by majestic forests and mountains. I was so impressed with Morena and Ernesto, the two dedicated curators who founded and run the museum, along with guided esoteric tours, publishing an assortment of Tarot decks, and maintaining the archival Tarot website. They are not only accomplished esoteric scholars but also wonderful people with much spirit and imagination. I was amazed by their energy and felt their passion for Tarot art and history and how deeply committed they are to preserving the Tarot decks and artworks in the evolving collection. To witness their joy upon seeing the 22 original artworks for the LiteraTarot America deck, which Michael and I hand-carried there filled me with pride. An update to this essay... LiteraTarot America was published by Museo dei Tarocchi in the Fall of 2008. And the artworks are now hanging in this wonderful museum. The Museo dei Tarocchi has an impressive amount of original artworks donated by artists of decks from around the world, as well as an incredible collection of Tarot from the rare or obscure to the unusual and of course, the most popular. All lovingly preserved for future generations while being enjoyed by their many international visitors.

Morena and Ernesto took us to the surrounding areas of historical esoteric significance and we also enjoyed many fabulous, unusual delicacies from the local eateries. Those two were a lot of fun to hang out with and never ran out of steam, even singing Italian songs all the way home. I felt so inspired as I shared in their sense of wonder with art and nature and how keenly they live in the moment.

The museum itself, which they painstakingly restored is incredible and their attention to detail beyond expectation. There are tree trunks that open up to reveal hidden shelves Museo dei Tarocchi Tree Trunk Displays of prized Tarocchi and tiny doors with lit windows hidden in the stone walls that open to show off precious miniature artworks. They have many unusual sculptures, paintings, stain glass works and countless decks populating the large, two story museum. Museo dei Tarocchi Display

After 4 blissful days with our friends at the Tarot museum, which included other Tarot artists who all made our stay there so memorable, we left to travel to other parts of Italy. We spent a few days in the charming town of Citta di Castello, near Tuscany with our friends Charlotte Porter and John Genzale, (who has made Italy his permanent home). He kindly shared the beauty and delicious foods of the surrounding areas. Then on to dreamy Venice before returning to Milano to visit our dear friend Osvaldo Menegazzi once again and his enchanting Tarot Art shop, Il Meneghello. Osvaldo spends his days in tranquil meditation, creating one of a kind artworks and hand crafting Tarocchi decks and boxes. A few of Osvaldo's handcrafted Tarot boxes' You may be interested in a recent deck and box set that Osvaldo is handcrafting which is unusual in concept and design called 'Insetti in 22 Arcani'. Known for his sometimes curious choice of deck themes (such as shoes, sea shells, mushrooms, etc.), this time Osvaldo has painted a collection of insects that fit the meanings of the Major Arcana. A spider dangles from a web for the Hanged One, a fire fly - for the Star, a praying mantis for the Devil and of course a scorpion for the Death card. Signature card, Hanged One, Death & Star These cards are handcrafted onto thick cardstock and each one is hand stamped. The box is also lovingly handmade, signed and finished off with his signature wax seal. Each set has a hand written, numbered signature card done in beautiful calligraphy on specialty paper. This is a very limited edition collectable. I left with a couple of these treasures in my possession as well as a new kind of Visconti Tarot box that Osvaldo makes which is ‘drawer style’ (sliding out to reveal two compartments for decks) complete with a wooden drawer knob, and his usual attention to detail and personal touches. The new insect Tarocchi deck is also available in this hand crafted drawer-style container. Osvaldo's Insect Tarocchi and Visconti drawer box' I could watch Osvaldo work all day. On our last visit with Osvaldo I documented his process of hand crafting one of a kind boxes and that article can be found here. He also makes incredible shadow boxes aside from all the decks he publishes. We’ve dedicated a website to Osvaldo’s works which can be found here. It was updated recently with Osvaldo's latest offerings including the Insetti/Insect Tarot and a gorgeous new set of Calligraphy Major Arcana cards called Tarocchi Metaforici and more recently, Tarocco Numerico: 22 Arcani in 22 Numeri - which presents the Trumps as they relate to numbers from cultures of the world. Incredible works of art well worth checking out.

Charlotte, Osvaldo & Arnell in 'Il Meneghello' Along with all the wonderful treasures we brought home is the spirit of these beautiful people we have befriended, who beyond their extraordinary accomplishments, pour their souls into their art and work and are truly inspirational. I long to return there!

Ciao xo,