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Travel Guide of Italy – History of A Mystery From The Renaissance

 

Tarot

I am really not going to say how late I am in getting this information out! Let’s just say embarrassingly so! I have always wanted to go on one of Arnell Ando’s Tarot tours of Italy, but have never been able to do so. In this 150 page guide (PDF version), Arnell (in collaboration with Morena Poltronieri and Ernesto Fazioli of the Museo dei Tarocchi) gifts the reader with a detailed guide to landmark artworks that contributed to the development of Tarot, along with esoteric, literary, and historic lore. (Tarot did not evolve in a vacuum!) It is a wonderful, expanded version of the original print book, including poetry, maps, early Tarot images, and so much more! It is a privilege to have this material in your hands!

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Tarot aficionados on all levels will find themselves drawn into this material. One of the things that the authors could do with the Kindle/PDF format that they could not in the print book was provide live links – a true bonus!

Here is my review of the earlier print book – https://theworldoftarot.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/review-tarot-travel-guide-of-italy-history-of-a-mystery-from-the-renaissance/. On Arnell’s site – http://www.arnellart.com/museodeitarocchi/msdk48-pdf.htm – you can purchase the Kindle version of the updated book, as well as a PDF version. The price of admission is minimal … what you take away is entry into a whole new world!

Gift yourself, gift a friend, and please remember to share the link! It doesn’t get this real very often!

© October 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 

 

 

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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Review: Tarot Travel Guide of Italy – History of a Mystery from the Renaissance

Tarot Travel Guide of Italy –
History of a Mystery from the Renaissance

Author: Morena Poltronieri, Ernesto Fazioli, Arnell Ando
Translated by: Arnell Ando
Museo dei Tarocchi
2015

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I truly honor my friendship with co-author Arnell Ando. If we had never met (in cyberspace), I would have missed out on so many things – this lovely book included! The 200 page, 100 copy first printing of “Tarot Travel Guide of Italy” takes the reader on an incredible journey of the Tarot through the Renaissance period in Italy. We see the Tarot as it develops in Italy from its early roots, with a peek into the actual physical places connected with this history. Reflected in this book are the Tarot tours that Arnell Ando, along with Morena Poltronieri and Ernesto Fazioli of the Tarot Museum have led over the past several years, including a map with key locations and an actual itinerary of their tour. What a nice time out from the day to day of life, to be able to step into the world of Tarot in a significantly unique manner! Where else could you get even a glimpse of the richness of the Tarot world, from Ferrara and Milan, to a Mediterranean garden of incredible sculptures, to an amazing museum dedicated to the Tarot!

From the back cover:

Morena Poltronieri and Ernesto Fazioli have been working for over thirty years in the field of anthropological research of symbols; specializing in major art work and architecture, both in Italy and abroad. They have written numerous books on these and related subjects, and direct the International Museum of Tarot in Italy. www.museodeitarrochi.net.

Arnell Ando is the creator of “Hero’s Journey Tarot”, “Transformational Tarot”, and “Lucky Pack Tarot”. She co-organizes the Tarot Art History Tours with the Museo dei Tarrochi. www.arnellart.com”.

What a rich background the co-authors have and what a depth of knowledge they bring to their subject! (Note the front cover, with illustrations from the “Tarot Monteiri”, an eighteenth century Tarot deck.)

The “Tarot Travel Guide of Italy” begins with an introduction to the possible origins of Tarot, including China, India, Gypsies, Egypt, Cabala, the cards of Fez, Morocco, the Crusades and more. The Tarot is discussed as being a series of symbols holding primordial energies of existence. The information given is interesting, with a plethora of research points for further study.

From there we move on to the city of Bologna (where Tarot was born). Included here is a beautiful graphic of the Rosenwald Tarot, the Aces from the Tarocchino Tarot Bolognese, a chart showing the major arcana titles in the regional dialect, as well as Italian and English, and much more! The text discusses the evolution of the major arcana, the numbering (or lack of numbering) of the cards and tidbits such as Saint Petronius being the first Hanged Man image in history. Another interesting tidbit is the burning of all the Tarot decks in the city under the auspices of the historical figure Saint Bernardino (Bernardino da Siena). (Remember – Tarot was considered a game at this time.)

One of my favorite stories revolves around the church of St. Stephen, in Bologna. There are full color pics of the church, and of the symbols that were built into it. It also contains the Martyrs (the place for sacred relics), the Holy Garden, and the Anastasis.

Two of my favorite images in this book are the full color images of Triumph of Fame, and Triumph of Death, both by Lorenzo Costa.

Moving on, we come to Milan, and the Visconti Sforza Tarot. It is amazing to follow the actual people behind the decks, and how the culture of their time influenced the presentation of the cards.

This book is unique in that it was written to accompany an actual present day journey to visit the places of historical interest in Italy, with an emphasis on the Tarot. The historical background is in depth, allowing this book to serve as a stand-alone guide, but also to act as a template for any individual who chooses to visit these historical sites. Once there, an individual would also have a sense of what to look for at each site, and of the history of the individuals that once lived there.

This book also serves as a historical resource and is graced with both black and white and full color images that bring the magic into being. I loved the section on the Tarot Garden, a literal garden of Tarot sculptures created by Niki de Saint Phalle. One venue that is not to be missed is the Mueso dei Tarocchi, in Riola. Incredible work is being done here, both in the preservation of history and historical objects, and in the production of new, limited edition decks.

In the back of the book is a beautifully done section including maps of Italy, and the individual cities of Bologna, Milan, Ferrara, Bergamo, Varese, Clusone, Siena, Capalbio and Riola. Each map is marked with must see historical sites.

For anyone with an interest in Tarot or Tarot history, this is a must have book. Each order is accompanied by a bonus of at least two Tarot art postcards, a magnet, and matching artsy stamps which reference details in the Travel Guide. Aside from being well written and well researched, the book is filled with black and white scans and full page, full color reproductions. I highly recommend this book, as it takes you deep into the history of the Tarot, while at the same time showing you actual physical places where you can check out Tarot history, and see the mark that it literally left on the landscape.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Review – The Minoan Tarot

The Minoan Tarot

Author: Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Artist: Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Foreword: Rachel Pollack
Arnell’s Art
2014
ISBN #978-0-9894739-3-4

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The “Minoan Tarot” is inspired by the people of ancient Crete – their devotion to their Goddess, their land, and their creativity. The imagery is based on frescoes, pottery, sculpture, and jewelry from various periods in Cretan history. The 78 card deck and 92 page companion book come in a sturdy, lift-top box with the image of the Moon on the front. Other card images flow along the sides and ends of the box.

This is a traditional deck, with the following cards being retitled: Lily Prince (Fool), Priestess (Magician), Oracle (Priestess), Goddess (Empress), God (Emperor), Singer (Hierophant), Visionary (Hermit), Wheel of Life (Wheel of Fortune), Balance (Justice), Hanging Woman (Hanged Man), Ancestor (Death), Flow (Temperance), Ecstasy (Devil), Shipwreck (Tower), Transcendence (Judgement) and World Tree (World). Strength is VIII, Balance (Justice) XI. The suits are Earth (depicting land animals), Sea (depicting water creatures), Sky (depicting feathered creatures), and Art (depicting humankind involved in day to day activities). The Court Cards are Worker, Priestess, Master, and Mistress, and reflect social roles and cultural traits.

In her foreword, Pollack talks about the 1980’s as the beginning of a time when Tarot deck creators began to work with cultural traditions, many of which have been set in the past. She notes that this is a great learning tool, and that Lorenzi-Prince’s images are both true to their source, and alive and meaningful.

Lorenzi-Prince, in her introduction, talks about the fact that the Bronze age people of Crete, unlike their contemporaries, did not exalt kingship. Nor did they perceive of a great distance between the gods and humanity. She notes that each card in the Minoan Tarot is based on an original work of the painters, sculptors, jewelers, and potters who lived thousands of years ago.

She goes on to define the chronological tables of the periods that she refers to in this deck: Neolithic Era on Crete, Pre-Palace Period, Old Palace Period, New Palace Period, and Post Palace Period, and gives us a brief history of the Minoan culture.

The cards are presented with a full color image, a history of the symbols used in the card, and three short messages. For the Minor Arcana, note is made that the suits (Earth, Sea, Sky, and Art) reflect the great powers present in the lives of the Minoans. The numbers are defined as: Ace/Individuality, Two/Sensitivity, Three/Creativity, Four/Practicality, Five/Adaptability, Six/Harmony, Seven/Spirituality, Eight/Power, Nine/Consciousness, and Ten/Transformation. The Court Cards carry the following qualities: Worker (physical, practical energy of the suit), Priestess (spiritual direction and action), Master/Mistress (aspects of the God and Goddess as reflected through each of the suits).

At the end of the LW (Little White Book) we see samples for several three card readings, and a list of selected sources.

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The card backs are red, with a gold labrys – a double-headed axe-like symbol of the Goddess, and a ceremonial tool for ancient priestesses. The backs are not reversible. The card faces show a lavender/blue ¼” border, surrounding a central image. Across the bottom of the card in white lettering, we see the card number (in Roman numerals) and title (for the Major Arcana), suit and title (for the Court Cards), and suit and number (in text) for the Minor Arcana pips (numbered cards).

The images are modern renditions of ancient images, done primarily in shades of blue, purple, gold, and green. Symbols include snakes, Gods, Goddesses, eggs, and crescent moons.

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Sky Master: This card is based on a gold pendant from the island of Aegina in the New Palace Period. The Master of Birds brings grounding and discipline to the soul’s search for meaning.

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Art Mistress: The fantastical creature carrying the libation in this engraved gold ring from the New Palace Period is called the Minoan genius or demon. It always functions as a divine servant.

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Sky Eight: This lovely crested bird is from a fresco of Knossos in the New Palace Period is a hoopoe. It is thought to rule all birds.

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Sea Seven: The painted octopus, shown coiled around a terracotta vessel of the New Palace Period, shows the joy the Minoans felt in this creatures grace and flexibility.

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Earth Ace: This finely carved ritual vessel comes from the New Palace Period. It shows how highly revered the bull was in Minoan culture.

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The Moon: This image is from a fragment of a terracotta sculpture of the Goddess found in the Psychro cave. The Moon is the gateway to what lies beyond.

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Balance: The image here is from an engraved gem seal from Knossos in the Old Palace Period. Two acrobats are standing on their hands, mirroring each other. The Minoans valued both physicality and deep religious feeling.

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Wheel of Life: The Minoan Tarot Wheel of Life is from an Old Palace Period engraved gem seal, showing an interwoven design of egg and snake.

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Singer: The imagery here is a group of terracotta figurines from the Cretan village of Palaikastro in the Post Palace Period. While less sophisticated than before the falloff the palaces, we are still shown that joyous religious rights lived on.

The “Minoan Tarot” functions well as a tool for journeying and meditation, as well as an oracle. The card meanings will evolve for the reader as they work with this deck, but it is important to work with the companion book when you first start using this deck in any capacity. The messages are all about stability and a grounded sense of well-being.

The work seen here reflects the exacting standards of both the author/illustrator, Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, and the publisher, Arnell Ando. It is a quality product, and a welcome addition for any Tarot reader/collector/afficianado.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written authorization from the author.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Review – Tarocchi Appropriati

Tarocchi Appropriati

International Collaborative Project
Limited Edition
Museo Dei Tarocchi
2015

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The “Tarocchi Appropriati” is a 22 card, majors only deck and 96 page companion book that is a collaborative project under the auspices of the Museo Dei Tarocchi, hosted by Morena Poltronieri, in collaboration with Ernesto Fazioli, and overseen by Tarot historian Giovanni Pelosini. This is a Limited, Special Edition of 100 sets. The cards and companion book are packaged in a special, ribbed, corrugated box with the cover art on the lid (which carries the Museo’s Hot Wax Seal).

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Note: There are two additional cards – a title card, and a card listing the artists. The booklet is available in English, translated by artist Arnell Ando (Transformational Tarot). Cover art is by Jessica Angiulli.

This deck is an homage from the hosts of Tarocchi Appropriati (Morena Polronieri and Ernesto Fazioli) to a time in Tarot history when nobility enjoyed playing parlor games with the cards. I loved the background given in the accompanying book – how the presence of the Tarot in Bologna was later than it was elsewhere, and that it was not always performed in verse. Each trump of “Tarocchini Appropriate” was inspired for a different lady, and was presented in two distinct parts – the first being the correspondences between the trump cards and the ladies, the second, in prose, provided an explanation of the proposed correspondence (which was at times rather wicked or cheeky).

The artists and their corresponding cards are listed at the beginning of the companion book, with artist bios at the back of the book.  They represent an international artistic talent:

Giovani Monti – The Fool
Lucio Mondini – The Magician
Caterina Forest – The High Priestess
Martino Barbieri – The Empress
Octavio Monaco – The Emperor
Alain Giannotti – The Pope
Eric Lerner – The Lovers
Claire Santi – The Chariot
Paride Cevolani – Justice
Jari Casagrande – The Hermit
Mariarita Frazzoni – The Wheel of Fortune
Tiziana Bertacci – Strength
Antonello Mantovani – The Hangman
Ornella Lamberti – Death
Giovanni Pelosini – Temperance
Rebecca Mietzelfield – The Devil
Francesca Ricci – The Tower
Payal Anil Padmanabhan – The Star
Rita Minelli – The Moon
Adolfina De Stefani – The Sun
Patricia Brown – Judgement
Franco Coletti – The World

The cards are presented with a small black and white scan, the artists interpretation of the card, and a poem from poet Jari Casagrande (who also was the artist for The Hermit). Tarot historian Giovanni Pelosini contributed the card Temperance. I love this way of looking at the Tarot – and hope that you do also!

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The cards are 2.75” by 5”, on matte cardstock (my favorite cardstock!). The card backs are done in a muted brown and gold, and are not reversible. The card faces are borderless, and include the card number and title.

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Ruota di Fortuna: “Continuous movement of life, I find you constantly, even if hidden among crickets and owls who rejoice. I know where to look, when the dark corners of memory require your eyes. You know where to find me, whenever I whisper of the love that brought us together …
Friends of the heart
Sisters forever”

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The Death: “Arcana XIII is obtained from the masque “headgear carved wooden with a clan c.1875”(Size: 100 X 100 cm – mixed media: Acrylic on canvas). It is a shamanic headdress topped with a totem animal. To protect people in the journey between life and death. To enter into another world, where chaos reigns supreme. Where good is in constant struggle with the evil dark forces of nature. It is the realm of the night, the womb, with felines looking hungry at coops with feathers that camouflage the head …Feast on a solemn transformation. A royal banquet.Death and then unmentionable passing – until it reaches the extreme point where fingers are touching, in a magical exchange that sets off sparks of new life. Roar. Rattle. Dance.It is a shamanic headdress topped by a totem animal, an object to overcome the illusion of life, believing in death, attempting a new journey. Vision quest.
Life does not die.”

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The Lovers: “My musical inspiration for composing the Amanti card was the punk music of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Ultimately it was the determining factor in employing digital media. When presented with the project, I pulled cards for both my friend Alain Giannotti and myself to let Tarot itself determine what we would do. He got Papa and I Amani. Initially I aspired to use a piece of classical music for inspiration. But the more studies I did, the more impossible I found it to decide to just one musical composition. For me, the meaning of the Lover’s card is distilled as conflict. In Marseilles inspired Tarots the lover is trying to choose between two very different women while he feels hapless victim to an arrow of fate about to crash through his consciousness in making his choice. Classical music excels in expressing pure emotional states or mimicking natural phenomena. A single composition that gave voice to Amanti would have to implode. Increasingly I realized many punk songs did an excellent job of such turmoil. Having been a performer on that musical scene myself I remembered how we put together cover art for our 45’s, gig posters, and cassette inserts. We used crude collage. If we had a lot of finesse maybe we used glue sticks, manicuring scissors and ball point pen to attack our material. More likely we used clear scotch tape, blunter craft scissors, and a photocopier. Digital composition is gthe closet thing to an equivalent today.”      

I am very honored to be reviewing this deck. I want to personally thank Arnell Ando for doing the translation into English that allowed me to share in the wisdom that it presents. The work that the Museo de Tarocchi hosts is incomparable. This deck in particular is one that will appeal to Tarot artists, historians, and collectors.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Review – The Dark Goddess Tarot

The Dark Goddess Tarot

Author: Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Artist: Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Published By Arnell’s Art
2013
ISBN #978-0-989-1739-0-3

Dark Goddess Tarot cover

The “Dark Goddess Tarot” is a 78 card deck, which comes with a 27 page LWB (Little White Book). It is packaged in a medium gray lift top, heavy cardboard box, with the image of XIII Death (La Santa Muerte) on the cover, and the image of XVII Stars (Spider Woman) on the back. The deck theme is based on feminine deities from diverse pantheons, that flow seamlessly on two counts: the quality of the artwork, and the assignments of the deities to the cards.

I have obviously been living in the dark ages, because it was a surprise to me that a lady that I admire greatly (artist/author Arnell Ando) was the publisher! Kudos, my friend!

I have worked with Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s previous deck (“Tarot of the Crone”) for a long time now, and have been looking forward to working with this deck. Both decks touch a side of the feminine that is beneficial to all of us.

Note: The cover image for the LWB is that of the Magician (Isis).  There is magic in these cards … yes! Other full page color images interspersed throughout the LWB  include the Chariot (Ishtar), the Hanged One (Tiamat), Hag of Fire (Maman Brigitte), the Ten of Water (Ixchel), the Eight of Air (Crow Mother), and the Eight of Earth (Cailleach).

In her introduction Lorenzi-Prince notes that the Dark Goddesses may be beautiful or horrible, loving or wicked. What they share, what unifies them, are powers that are considered disturbing when in female hands. You will see suffering, magic, mystery, death, violence, and transformation. The Dark Goddess Tarot invokes these goddesses, so that their experiences may provide strength and guidance for us in difficult times.

The structure of the deck is traditional, with the following Major Arcana cards being renamed: Emperor/Sovereignty, Temperance/Alchemy, Devil/Corruption, Tower/Destruction, and Judgment/Liberation. Strength is VIII, Justice is XI.

The four suits are renamed after the four magical elements: Wands/Fire, Cups/Water, Swords/Air, and Pentacles/Earth. The goddesses that were chosen for each suit have both an affinity for the respective e element, and for the card they represent. The Court Cards are Page/Amazon, Knight/Siren, Queen/Witch, and King/Hag.  Each card is seen as being one view of the goddess represented, one part of her being. The spread that is presented in the LWB is entitled Substance and Shadow, and was developed to give the Seeker a quick, incisive look into everyday challenges.

The cards are presented in text only, with the card number and name, the goddess, what the goddess represents, and a short take on how to use the wisdom contained in the card.

At the end of the LWB is a short section on working with the goddesses. The Seeker is advised to develop a connection with the goddesses, to research them, to mediate with them, and to offer them tokens of affection. It is also noted that patience and respect are a good thing, and that the Seeker should suspend their disbelief.

A second Tarot spread is offered, this one entitled “Goddess Be With You”. It is intended to orient the Seeker to their true self.

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The cards themselves are 3” by 5 ½”, on quality card stock, The backs show a pattern of circles overlapping each other (looking somewhat like scales), in blue and light pink. The backs are reversible.

The card faces show a medium gray border. For the Major Arcana, the card number (in Roman numerals) and name is in white lettering across the op, with the name of the goddess in white lettering across the bottom. The Pips (numbered cads) show the card name and suit (in text) across the top of the card, with the name of the goddess across the bottom of the card.  The Court Cards show the card title and suit across the top of the card, with the name of the goddess across the bottom of the card.

The artwork is outstanding, as is to be expected from Lorenzi-Prince. The colors are deep and true, and the style is appropriate to the culture that each goddess represents.  Some of my favorite cards include the Magician (Isis), the Hermit (Baba Yaga), Justice (Maat), the Ace of Fire (Vesta), the Hag of Fire (Maman Brigitte), the Six of Water (Tefnut), Two of Air (Athena), and the Three of Earth (Norms).

This is an excellent deck to use for dark and difficult times, but it can also be used easily for meditation, ritual, and journey work. It is not a deck to learn to read the Tarot with, but it has great value on its own. It is very special, and should be approached with respect for he goddess energy that it contains.

© 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited in an venue without the written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Tarot

 

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2013 – Tarot Tour of Northern Italy

Niki de Saint Phalle

My friend, Tarotist and artist Arnell Ando, along with her husband, Michael McAteer,  will be leading a 14 day Tarot and History Tour to Northern Italy this fall (September 26th through October 10th), Inspired by the late Brian Williams the tour will include the following:

* A private viewing of the original Visconti-Sforza Tarot cards at the Accademia Carrara.

*  Traveling around Milan to see Tarocchi frescos depicting Tarot’s early emergence in Renaissance Italy.

* Viewing an ancient astrological clock (ca 1583), and the Dance of the Dead fresco.

* A truly memora ble visit to Osvaldo Menegazzi’s magical Tarot shop il Meneghello.

* A visit to the Visconti/Sforza castle.

* A visit to Milan;s grand Gothis Cathedral and the famous Plaza Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. (Arnell is also whispering something about a cool Milanese esoteric shop!)

* Visits to the frescos of Palazzo Schifanola. and the amazing artowrks of the Duomo museum of Ferrata.

* Basilica di St, Pedronio (which has art with early Tarot symbolism).

* An ancient Isis temple with ties to Jerusalem.

* A 500 year olf Madonna mummy.

* The Amazing Museo del Tarocchi (created by tour guide Morena Poltronieri!).

* The ultimate Tarot destination – tghe Tarot Garden of Niki de Saint Phalle!

* A special garden party at the Tarot museum hosted by Morena Poltronieri!

* Visits to the cities of Siena and Florence.

I will bring you more exact information (such as where to sign up!) as Arnell puts it up! What a tour this is going to be! The tour will include all hotel accommodations, all breakfasts, transportation within Italy (private tour bus),  scheduled events and tour fees, and all but two dinners.

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

All material on this site is copyright by Bonnie Cehovet, and may not be reproduced in any format without written permission.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Tarot

 

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