viscon.jpg (14821 bytes)The Visconti Tarots (I Tarocchi dei Visconti)
Review by Michele Jackson

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

I opened this deck expecting it to be a smaller version of the Visconti Sforza reproduction issued by US Games. I was therefore aghast when the glittery gold foil accents and backgrounds caught the light like mirrors and reflected it back at me. I was unprepared for the fine details added to the images, particularly the faces. The muddy colored, indistinct clothing of the original reproduction were replaced by vividly colored, patterned fabrics, enhanced by gold foil highlights.  I was surprised by the cards that had been redone, like the Devil and the Tower (it should be noted that the Tower and Devil cards, as well as the Star and the Moon were missing from the original deck so we do not know what they originally looked like). This deck just blew me away.

Don't get me wrong. The Visconti Sforza reproduction put out by US games is quite beautiful as well. This despite the true rendering of the original images, including faded paint, and the holes punched in the top of the cards. But this deck has taken the beauty if the original and enhanced it. I can not help but imagine that the original deck must have looked similar to this when new -  before the gold foil darkened with age, while the colors were bright and every line was clear, and visible. This new version is simply exquisite. It made me ooh and ahh as I went through the cards.

The cards are slightly smaller than average at 2 3/8" X 4 1/2". The cards have a black border. The Major Arcana have the card name in the left side border in Italian, English, German, French and Spanish. The card number is at the top of the left border. The suits are Cups, Pentacles, Wands and Swords. The court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Page. Justice is VIII and Strength is XI. The Minors are pips. As previously noted, most of the images are the same as the reproduction version, but a few have been changed - for the better in my opinion. This deck comes with Lo Scarabeo's usual instructions printed on extra cards, but it also has a little booklet. The booklet does not have card meanings, rather it has background and historical information about the deck and the Visconti and Sforza families. It was written by Stuart Kaplan. It also has instructions for the Celtic Cross Spread.

I recommend this deck for anyone looking for a beautiful renaissance-style deck. Sticklers for authenticity may balk at the changes made, but the changed images do not detract from the beauty of this deck. They would be at home at a renaissance fair or for any time that you wanted to do a special reading with a deck that is a treat for the eye. Most decks which make extensive use of gold foil are expensive, making their owners somewhat hesitant to use them regularly for fear of wearing off the gold foil. If you the gold foil on this deck wears away, you can afford to replace it without eating beans for a week. Highly recommended.

See more cards from the Visconti Tarot Deck

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

The Visconti Tarots
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
ISBN: 1-57281-083-1


This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson