The Tarot Garden of the artist Niki de Saint Phalle is a mysterious park in the municipality of Capalbio, in Maremma, offers gigantic sculptures and unusual monumental constructions, covered with exquisite mosaics of mirrors, glass and colored ceramics.
In the marvelous hills near Capalbio, in the Province of Grosseto, precisely in the Garavicchio estate – at the Chiarone-Pescia Fiorentina exit – the Tarot Garden stands out, an extravagant and phantasmagoric artistic park immersed in the Mediterranean scrub of the Tuscan Maremma, in the which the 22 Arcana
Majorof the Tarot cards literally came to life in cyclopean sculptures of 10/15 meters high thanks to the imagination of a world famous French sculptor: Niki de Saint Phalle, born in France in 1930 and died in San Diego (California, USA) on May 22, 2002. What triggered the desire to build this esoteric garden was the influence of the soft shapes and constructions of Antoni Gaudí’s Park Güell in Barcelona. In 1979, with the collaboration of the Swiss sculptor (and companion) Jean Tinguely, the artist then began the construction of the Tarot Garden, at his own expense. The garden appears truly fairy, it enchants adults and children, as in a fairy tale you meet snakes and magicians, angels and devils, elves and emperors, sun and moon.
Niki tries to convey the sense of magic, wonder and mystery to the works. The garden represents for the artist the ideal city and a sort of poetic existential message.
The sculptures are an intertwining of iron and concrete covered with mosaics, ceramics, multicolored precious glass and so on. Over time, some works by other contemporary artists from all over the world have been added. Along the paths and hidden niches of the garden, the immense creations take shape, which refer to a traditional but at the same time very personal iconography. You can see Death riding a horse with a scythe in his hand, the Pope and the Popess, a dragon wrapped in a green mirror mantle, the Emperor’s Castle, the Sun, the Magician with his hand covered with small tiles of mirrors, the Hanged Man inside the tree of life, the stupendous Tower of Mirrors, broken by lightning, where a sculpture by Jean Tinguely moves and much more.
The park is managed and managed by the Tarot Garden Foundation, created in 1997 by Niki de Saint Phalle in order to preserve and guard the works she created.
The entrance to the Tarot Garden (for a fee, the entrance ticket currently costs 12 Euros, it is free on the morning of the first Saturday of the month from November to March) takes place through a large hole that opens along a tuff wall, created by the Swiss architect Mario Botta, which symbolizes the clear separation from the outside world.
Resources on the Tarot Garden
- Niki de Saint Phalle – The Tarot Garden – The official website of the French artist and the Maremma art park.