Tarot Art & History Tour of Italy:
Get on our contact list !

Update: Postponed till Covid & the international Vaccine distribution and the travel economy are more stabilized (tour takes several months to create...)  Take care, Merry Band of Tarot Travelers, till next we meet in bella Italia!

Our Tarot tours were highlighted in National Geographic Feb. 2020 issue, in a great article by Alex Schechter

Tarot Travel Guide of Italy is available as an eBook! Full of fascinating historical details, colorful imagery, reference maps + live links

XXI World Card Collage by Arnell Ando We are excited about the 4th amazing tour with our merry band of Tarot travelers! Our previous tours were an incredible experience to share and this one includes many of their highlights plus 5 new places to explore as well as, visits with Tarot artists, ancient Tarot Frescoes and antique painted cards, the Tarot Museum & Niki de St Phalle's Tarot Garden, along with time spent in Milan, Bologna, Ferrara, Rimini, Siena, Varase, Clusone & Bergamo!

Explore the fascinating history of Tarot's evolution beginning with its deep roots in the Italian Renaissance. Experience first-hand this symbolic art form's continuing progression. Enjoy delectable local cuisines, travel the beautiful countryside in a comfortable chartered bus. A world of richly emblematic art & symbolic dreamscapes awaits!
Osvaldo's shop sign

Presented by Tarot artist, author Arnell Ando, (certified tour organizer), with husband, Michael McAteer (logistics manager) and our fascinating resident scholars, Morena Poltronieri & Ernesto Fazioli - creators of the incredible Tarot Museum in Riola, Italy!

Check out various feedback from previous tours

This 2015 video gives a nice sense of our enchanting tours

Planned Itinerary for Next Tarot Art & History Tour...

Tarocchi Fresco in Castello Sforzesco Tells a Tale We'll begin our journey in Milan, birthplace of Tarot. il Meneghello Shop Window in Milano We’ll visit the magical emporium, il Meneghello, to explore Tarot treasures created by the maestro himself, Osvaldo Menegazzi (known by discerning deck collectors and historians everywhere). We were heartbroken to lose our dear friend Osvaldo over Covid ~ his essence floats everywhere in his shop, currently run by his step-daughter Cristina Dorsini, Savor the mesmerizing assortment of handcrafted Tarot sets, artwork, shadowboxes, and meticulously produced historical decks created by him over decades.

The awe inspiring Renaissance fortress Castello Sforzesco (Visconti - Sforza Castle) will surely impress with its majestic presence. It houses a curious collection of art & artifacts including a Tarot fresco which evokes a dark tale. And be sure to see beautiful works by Leonardo da Vinci and by Bonifacio Bembo, (creator of the earliest known Tarot deck.) Planned for our next tour, a beautifully preserved vineyard residence where da Vinci dwelled, which was a lavish gift from Sforza, Duke of Milan  Leonardo da Vinci's Vineyard (shown below).

The tranquil Renaissance town of Ferrara is full of character and intrigue and shares (along with Milan) early connections to Tarot. Highlights include the unique art museum, San Romano, full of symbolic works. Palazzo Schifanoia, a 14th century summer Palace, sharing frescos, known as the Hall of Months, created under the direction of Renaissance painters Francesco del Cossa and Cosmè Tura that depict mythological, astrological scenes with correlations to Tarot.

Collage of Ferrara by Arnell Ando
 The Gentle Beauty of Ferrara with Early Ties to Tarot

Bask in the Aura of the Authentic...

2015 tarot tour map On the way to a scrumptious supper, we'll take a stroll through an old cobblestoned Jewish village with a history dating back to medieval times, that's bound to inspire with its unique architecture and delicate beauty.

And feel free to explore the moated, medieval castle of Ferrara, which is a museum with interesting artifacts and historical references relating to the royal Este family, who helped popularize & spread the chic of early Tarot and astrology during the Renaissance.

We'll travel to Bologna, a grand old city with rich layers of history, and a thriving contemporary style.

We'll visit the awe-inspiring Basilica di St. Pedronio which has magnificent art with early ties to Tarot symbolism, (such as XII Hanged Man, XV Devil and XXI World).

We'll discover an ancient Goddess Temple of Isis (2nd Century) with deep roots to Jerusalem, that is hidden within an old church (that has its own secrets to share). Not to be missed is a jaunt around the Piazza + new on this tour, we'll venture to Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio and discover its impressive grandeur and the long legacy of famous esoteric and philosophical scholars. Bologna offers an elaborate open air bazaar, mere blocks from our comfy hotel, that is sure to tempt with an assortment of unusual treasures, treats & novelties from exotic places.

Anicent Isis Goddess Temple in Bologna New for this tour, we'll spend time in Rimini, visiting Malatesta Temple, which is full of Neoplatonic symbols and the captivating Chapel of Planets that celebrates Basino da Parma’s brilliance; (creator of astrological symbols) making it an unforgettable experience.

Rimini Temple Malatestiano Next we embark on a lovely journey up mountains, to rejuvenate our spirits in the incredible Tarot Museum of Morena Poltronieri & Ernesto Fazioli, found nestled in the small hilltop village of Riola. An impressive array of original Tarot artwork from around the world, as well as a dizzying collection of decks from the rare to the unusual and most prized awaits. They will host a garden party for us, with fascinating Tarot artists & authors!

New on this tour is a visit to nearby Rocchetta Mattei, an intriguing art museum with unusual esoteric architecture and artifacts sure to dazzle & inspire.

Rocchetta Mattei Art Museum Next we venture to the beautiful Tuscany region, with tidy lines of cypress trees and olive groves (like gazing into an immense painting...)

We'll stay for a spell in Siena, which tantalizes the palette and inspires the artist within.

Fabulous Museo dei Tarocchi (collage by Arnell Ando)
Tarot Museum Garden Party: Jessica w/ Surreal Tarot Artist Octavia Monaco

Iconic Sun Atop Siena Duomo Siena's stunning B&W, marbled Duomo is designed to fill the visitor with overwhelming awe. It shares a fascinating history and we'll see Tarot related iconography and esoteric symbolism in the breathtaking marble inlays & various artworks. Note the mosaics and frescoes with early Pagan imagery found in ancient Tarot cards. With the rest of the day free to explore, enjoy museums with some of the greatest masterpieces of all time.

XIX Sun of Tarot Garden Cobblestone paths spiral out from Piazza del Campo offering delightful eateries and unusual shops to enjoy.

Accademy Carrara houses 26 original Visconti cards! We'll have lunch in a seaside village on our way to Sacro Bosco di Bomarzo;  affectionately known as the Monster Garden, of mythological creatures and impossible architecture (optical illusions such as a crooked tower). These enigmatic sculptures appear to represent stages on an alchemical journey.

At the heart of our tour, we make a spiritual pilgrimage to the Tarot Garden of Niki De Saint Phalle. A breathtaking view of colorful sculptures looms large on the horizon as we draw near… In 1998 Niki created this magical place, where the 22 Major Arcana welcome us to explore and play in sight of the Mediterranean sea, surrounded by a rocky landscape, graced with olive and oak trees. Unlike most museums where you are prohibited to touch or take photos, the Tarot garden invites us to interact with her compelling, symbolic sculptures.

Pierpont Morgan-Moon We'll enjoy a blissful stay in the lovely hill-top town of Bergamo and visit Accademia di Carrara, home to 26 of the original, meticulously painted Visconti-Sforza (Pierpont Morgan) Tarot cards (oldest known Tarocchi deck).

Bergamo is split in two; a lovely, ancient Renaissance town and the trendy, fashionable quarter, and we'll have time to explore both dimensions. favorite recipe for limoncello Incidentally, while in Bergamo researching a previous tour with Morena, we were served refreshing Limoncello to ''cleanse the palate.'' We fell under the spell of this lightly fragrant, citrus liqueur, (like drinking liquid sunshine), so we experimented and this is our homemade Limoncello recipe. And yes, we plan to return to that wonderful restaurant with delicious Limoncello on this tour.

Morena arranged a private tour of Bergamo's beautiful Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore with local author, historian Mauro Zanchi who will reveal areas of the church not seen by visitors. And share richly symbolic, intricate wooden inlays by Lorenzo Lotto and other precious works that make this sacred space unique. The lavish decor, (largely from a Baroque renovation) makes it a feast for the eyes & spirit. inspiring Accademy Carrara with original Visconti cards!

We next venture to the picturesque mountaintop village of Clusone and discover, with the local historian, an amazing ancient astrological clock tower from 1583 that still functions, as well as two of the oldest surviving Renaissance frescos with the theme of Triumph of Death by Giacomo Borlone de Buschis,(1485).

Tarot Fresco in Castello di Masnago of Varase In Varase, we'll visit an important Tarot fresco from the Renaissance era in the Castle of Masnago. The ghostly remains of this charming 15th century work depicting noble ladies playing Tarocchi while drifting in a wee boat, is quite captivating along with other frescos and symbolic art; both contemporary and from Italy's most influential era. Afterwards we'll enjoy a blissful picnic on the castle grounds.

Then make our way back to Milan for a farewell dinner with warm good-byes. The tour will end where it began and having come full circle, we can bask in the collective experience of a lifetime!

Ernesto leading a merry band of tarot travelers

Tarot Tour Includes:
Hotel accommodations, breakfasts, transportation within Italy (on our chartered tour bus), all scheduled events & tour fees, and all but 4 dinners; along with a picnic, a garden party + wonderful surprises, special guests and Tarot luminaries.

The 2012 tour 'in a nutshell' in this cool Blog by Kat Tan Conte

And Kat's whimsical trailer with glimpses of places shared...like fragments of a dream.

(Below see a few more tarot tour collages.)

Tarot Garden of Niki de Saint Phalle (collage by Arnell
Incredible Tarot Garden of Niki de Saint Phalle

Morena Poltronieri & Ernesto Fazioli Morena Poltronieri, director of Museo dei Tarocchi pictured with creative partner Ernesto Fazioli. Their international Tarot Museum houses an impressive Tarot deck & art collection along with a publishing house and bookshop. They are respected scholars of tarot, astrology, ancient esoteric history, architecture, symbolism & lore in both Italy and abroad. Check out this mini site which showcases the Tarot Museum, and offers deck reviews of their various published decks.

Arnell Ando Michael & Arnell is a certified tour manager. This is the 4th tour she is co-organizing with husband Michael McAteer and Tarot Museo friends. She's a Expressive Arts Therapist who has passionately studied Tarot since 1985. She's contributed to countless collaborative projects and created five decks so far including, Transformational Tarot published by U.S. Games. She also publishes indie artist's decks such as Video Tarot, created with her artist son Teppei. And Dark Goddess, Tarot of the Crone, Minoan Tarot and Greek Goddess Tarot - all with the legendary Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. Plus Pholarchos Tarot, by the evocative Carmen Sorrenti (from previous Tarot tours). Arnell has combined studies in spiritual and psychological realms to create her unique interpretation of Tarot. She and Michael reside in New Mexico. You can view her art, decks, and a line of custom, miniature occult shops, or read articles & reviews: www.arnellart.com Michael & Arnell went on the two Tarot history tours with Tarot artist, writer and scholar Brian Williams (1999 & 2000) and dedicate these magical tours to his brilliant legacy with much love and fond remembrances.

Tarot Art & History Tour of Italy - 2 Week Sojourn,
Details TBA

Milan Castle
Glimpse of Castello Sforzesco (Visconti/Sforza Castle) Milan & Tarot Fresco

il Meneghello
Mesmerizing il Meneghello with Osvaldo Menegazzi, & Friends

Clusone: Ancient Astronomical Clock Tower & Triumph of Death Fresco

Exploring Duomo di Siena, Piazza del Campo & Museo Civico

Museo dei Tarocchi
Enchanting Italian Tarot Museum - Museo dei Tarocchi

Bologna: St Petronius Basilica, Isis Goddess Temple and King Neptune

Bergamo: Basilica's Esoteric Work by Lorenzo Lotto & Accademia Carrara

Castello di Masnago in Varase
Tarot & Esoteric Frescos of Castello di Masnago in Varase

Tour Conditions Agreement (Fine Print)

For more info contact: Arnell Ando

Return to Arnell's Art Home