Few public spaces can boast of artwork and an open air museum as iconic as the Tarot Garden in Capalbio in Maremma, Italy. Maremma is the wildest area of Tuscany with medieval villages, vineyards and woods, sand beaches and blue sea. Our contributor Daniela Pittaluga shares her wonderful photos of her trip with Ecophiles.

The sculpture park displays French artist Niki de Saint de Phalle’s esoteric sculptures based on the Tarot cards. Inspired by Gaudi’s surreal Park Guell in Barcelona, the phenomenal project started in the late ’70s and ended when Niki passed away in 2002. The park was opened to the public in 1998.

The sculptures depict the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot cards. Niki collaborated with many important contemporary artists, including Jean Tinguely who was also her husband.

The architectural construction of the first sculpture of the Giardino dei Tarocchi began with The High Priestess (La Papesse), representing female creativity and strength.

The arrangement of the sculptures is suggestive and evocative. As an expression of the artist’s life story, The Empress (portrayed as a large woman-sphinx) is probably the most representative.

The Justice encases a sculpture by Jean Tinguely depicting iniquity imprisoned by a huge lock,. The Tree of Life’s branches are snakes and the trunk is covered by designs and texts by the artist.

The Devil, The Magician, The Sun, The Star, The Wheel of Fortune and all the rest of the Major Arcana are wonderfully visualised and executed here.

The Star Tarot Garden Tuscany

The Star

Constructed with reinforced concrete, the marriage of mirrors, ceramics, coloured glass and mosaic is magical and on a monumental scale.

The artist loved the interactive aspect of her art and encouraged people to play, explore and touch her works of art.

In the midst of the enormous undertaking, Niki created a perfume bearing her name and used the proceeds to help finance the Tarot Garden.

The Garden was the result of the wish to express Niki’s idea of a “small Eden where man and nature meet“.  As the artist said, the garden is made with difficulties, love, wild enthusiasm, obsession and faith. The legacy certainly lives on in this Eden.

The Fountain of the Emperor

The Fountain of the Emperor

For more details, visit http://ilgiardinodeitarocchi.it.

Daniela Pittagua was born in Genua, Italy and now lives in Milan. She dreams of returning to Genua, loves travel, art, photography, nature and, above all, freedom. To follow Daniela’s journeys, check out her fantastic photo stream on Instagram