Il Gioco di Passatempo contains 40 figurative playing cards depicting moral virtues and vices, dated 1690
17th century Minchiate cards reprinted from the original woodblocks
The Cavaliers are man/beast creatures. The Valets (or Pages) are male for clubs and swords, and female for cups and coins.
The title refers to “a new form of Tarocchini”. Mitelli's designs are to a high standard of artistic quality and a complete departure from the old tradition, especially the 22 Trump cards which are unnamed and unnumbered.
Playing cards manufactured in Italy by Giuseppe Cattino and Paolo Montanar.
Cards of the Spanish National Pattern manufactured by Pedro Bosio, Genova (Italy) during the 18th century for export to South America.
Cards of the Spanish National Pattern 'Money Bag' type manufactured by Pedro Bosio, Genova (Italy) probably during the 18th century and for export to Spain or South America.
The Piedmont pattern is a very close relative to the French 'Paris' pattern. The courts are not named, however, and are divided horizontally (rather than diagonally).
Cards from a pack of an early form of north Italian playing cards, with the swords back-to-back and curved outwards. Believed to be Venetian, dated 1462.
This pack of tarot cards appears to have have been made for Francesco Sforza about the time that he became Duke of Milan (1450). The pack comprises an ordinary pack of playing cards augmented by a Fool (Matto) and twenty-one unsuited trump cards (trionfi).
The so-called Tarocchi di Mantegna is a set of 50 copper-engraved images (c.1465) which were probably a social pastime or instructional series for educated people. The cards are numbered consecutively from 1 to 50, divided into groups.
Italian tarot cards, Lamperti (Milan) c.1850
Originally one of several designs which emerged during the nineteenth century, the Florentine pattern has several distinctive features.
"Il Leon" Sicilian playing cards, 40-card pack based on Spanish designs, made in Sicily by Antonio Monasta, probably 17th century.
Small Tuscan Pattern
The Brescia pattern contains elements which come from a past age. Some of the characteristic features are the Cupid on the Ace of Cups, the linked 2 of coins, the old-fashioned batons forming a trellis and the curved swords.
The Sicilian pack has a similar composition to the Neapolitan pack, and is small and squat in appearance. Each court rank stands on a different coloured plot - the kings on green, the knights on yellow and the pages on red.
The first reliable evidence that playing cards were being used in Italy is from 1376, when a game called 'naibbe' is forbidden in a decree, with the implication that the game had only recently been introduced there.