The Tarot Garden is near Capalbio, in the province of Grosseto, and is one of those lovely places where it’s really worth it to spend an entire afternoon, possibly with some kind of camera ready!
As is easy to see from the first installation that meets at the entrance, the park is deeply inspired by the works of Gaudi.
The author, Niki de Saint Phalle, a Franco-American, in 1979 began the construction of the impressive 22 “statues”, depicting precisely the Tarot, and placed it in a dreaming context, in which the real world is left outside, waiting for you to be amazed in the mystic garden, thanks to the wall specially built to clearly divide the “outside” from “inside”.
The statues are made of steel and concrete, covered with ceramics, glass, mirrors, tiles and written, and the garden looks like a small town in miniature, with the beautiful central square made of a colonnade, composed of all different columns and a fountain, with a house of mirrors blue, and a magical staircase (unfortunately inaccessible), the place where the artist lived during the 17 years of the construction of the garden inside the statue Empress-Sphinx. The interior of the “house”, including bathroom and kitchen, are made exactly like the rest of the facilities, then you will see a bath full of glittering colored glass and a kitchen where, at every glance, you can see a little bit different look of yourself in one of the thousands of fragments of mirror which it is upholstered.
Niki de Saint Phalle has used the help of several friends and co-workers, skilled workers and famous names in contemporary art, but also of her husband Jean Tinguely, a Swiss sculptor who died before the end of the work.
It ‘s impossible to tell in words the magic of the garden: the only way to really grasp the essence of alienation induced by these structures so beautiful and so strange, is immerse yourself in between, explore, wonder and be amazed, possibly without thinking but only being captivated by all these forms, colors and impressions that does not exist in the boring real life.
For photos, as usual, the best time is dark, but if you like to experiment, even at the sun can give you some satisfaction with the interplay of light / shadows that they create on the walls, reflective of the entire park.
The site shows opening dates from 1 April to 15 October, with time 14: 30-19: 30.
In winter you can visit the park free of charge from 9:00 to 13:00, on the first Saturday of each month, by the will of the author. Also, you can visit the park in winter by reservation.
The individual entrance costs 12 euros (but please refer to the website for the latest information), but all of them are really worth.
We spent a wonderful afternoon in September, unfortunately in a weekend, which is always a bit too crowded for our tastes, but we vowed to return soon for a session at sunset.