The Garden of Tarot in Capalbio: opening hours and information

May 23, 2014

The Garden of Tarot is situated in Garavicchio, a hamlet of Capalbio’s town. It is an original art park with twenty-two giant sculptures, from 12 to 15 meters high, all of them representing the twenty-two Major Arcana in the Tarot cards deck. The French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, inspired by Gaudí’s Parque Guell in Barcelona and Parco dei Mostri in Bomarzo, created the massive statues between 1979 and 1996. The gardens’s construction required a huge load of work and its cost was about 10 billion Lire, which was entirely self-financed by the artist herself.

The Tarot Garden occupies an area of ​​about two hectares. It is basically a real town where the sculptures, made of steel and concrete but also covered with glass, mirrors and colourful ceramics, mark the stages of a fascinating journey full of symbolism and esoteric meanings. You can access the garden passing through a fortress-like stonewall, which was designed by architect Mario Botta and emphasizes the sharp division between the outer world and the inner one.

Crossing the threshold of the Garden of Tarot, you will get to the central square. Once there, you will find the figure of the Magician, his hand covered with small pieces of mirrors, and the one of the High Priestess, from whose mouth comes out a small waterfall flowing over the ceramic covered steps; the waterfall ends in a fountain with the Wheel of Fortune placed at the centre of it. Nearby is the card of Strength, which is represented by a female figure dominating a dragon. Moving forward you will find the Sun, the Death, which rides a horse with a scythe in hand, the Devil, the World, the Fool and the Pope. Particularly fascinating is the The Hanged Man, which is located inside the Tree of Life and suggests another way of looking at the reality of things, thanks to its upturned point of view. The exhibition continues with the Justice, the Lovers, represented by Adam and Eve having a picnic, the Hermit, the Tower and the Emperor, which is the sculpture with mosaic and ceramic covered columns holding up a castle. Inside the castle, you will also find a fountain, representing the Lust. The Empress card has a sphinx shape and it contains not only a large living room, a bathroom and a small bedroom, but also the Chariot, the Star and the Last Judgment cards. The visit ends with the Moon and the Temperance. The last one is placed over a small church internally lined with mirrors and having a small altar with a ceramic black Madonna.

The Garden of Tarot is open daily from April 1st to October 15th, from 2:30 pm to 7:30 pm. The entrance ticket costs € 10.50 (reduced € 6 for children from 7 to 16 years old, students, people over 65 years old and groups of at least 25 people with mandatory reservation). As per Niki De Saint Phalle’s wish, you cannot take a guided tour inside the garden, in order to preserve the freedom of movement and the esoteric atmosphere the Tarot require. For more information: 0564.895122 (phone number), (email).

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