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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

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Italy

85 Articles
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Adolfo Matarelli Transformation

Matarelli was a well known caricaturist who first illustrated Carlo Collodi's famous Pinocchio story. He was also a collaborator in the satirical magazine “Il Lampione”, founded by Collodi. • May 12, 2013

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Agostino Bergallo

Agostino Bergallo Spanish pattern made for South American countries • Oct 12, 2010

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Alice

Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003. • Mar 07, 2021

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Alitalia

Alitalia advertising deck produced by Premier Portfolio International Ltd. • Aug 22, 2017

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Armanino

• Jun 15, 2014

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Austrian Lloyd Steamship Company

Possibly one of the most beautiful decks produced for commercial purposes, this was printed by Modiano for the Austrian Lloyd Steamship Company of Trieste in c.1895 • Mar 31, 2013

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Baracca & Burattini

Baracca & Burattini puppetry deck printed by Dal Negro, 1998. • Jan 25, 2021

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Bergamasche Pattern

Bergamasche Pattern by Modiano, 1970s. • Mar 06, 2018

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Brescia pattern

The Brescia pattern contains elements which come from a past age. • Jan 01, 1970

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Carte per Signora

“Carte per Signora” patience pack was produced by Fratelli Armanino, Genova, in c.1897 • Jun 15, 2014

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Carte Romane

“Carte Romane” designed by Giorgio Pessione, 1973, celebrating the history of Rome. • Mar 15, 2018

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Cities of Art - Naples

Striking views of Naples, photography by Cesare Gerolimetto, produced by Dal Negro. • Oct 16, 2016

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Club Bridge

Modiano’s ‘Club Bridge’ is a new edition of a stylish deck originally published in c.1895 • Jul 18, 2014

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Corona Ferrea

Trumps depict historical scenes primarily of the political period known as the Holy Roman Empire from the 6th to 16th century. • Apr 12, 2013

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Credito Commerciale

Playing cards designed by Enzo Laurà for Credito Commerciale, 1978. • Jun 13, 2014

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Cuccù

Cuccù or Cucco, an ancient Italian card game, published by Masenghini, 1979. • Mar 14, 2018

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Dal Negro Bridge set

Dal Negro Bridge set featuring old Vienna pattern courts. • Mar 20, 2018

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Etruria Minchiate

The Cavaliers are man/beast creatures. The Valets (or Pages) are male for clubs and swords, and female for cups and coins. • May 30, 2013

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Fantasy Italian style

Fantasy latin-suited pack with court figures in pseudo-medieval style, Fratelli Armanino, Genova, c.1890s • Jun 03, 2015

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Florentine Pattern

Originally one of several designs which emerged during the nineteenth century, the Florentine pattern has several distinctive features. • Jan 01, 1970

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Genovesi Pattern

Genoese pattern from Italy. • Mar 07, 2017

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Giuseppe Cattino

Playing cards manufactured in Italy by Giuseppe Cattino and Paolo Montanar for Spanish markets. • Oct 07, 2010

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Gulliver

Deck inspired by Gulliver‘s Travels book by Jonathan Swift, Lo Scarabeo, 2003. • Mar 12, 2021

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Gumppenberg of Milan

Fine playing cards made by Gumppenberg of Milan evoking the style of antiquity, c.1830 • Jan 04, 2015

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Hand-Painted Tarocchi Cards

Hand-Painted Tarocchi Cards • Jan 01, 1970

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Hermanos Solesi

“Money Bag” pattern by Hermanos Solesi, late 18th c. • Dec 08, 2017

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History of Flight

“History of Aviation” playing cards published by Lo Scarabeo (2003) in which every card carries a painting representing an aspect of the history of powered flight • May 05, 2015

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Il Circo

Il Circo illustrated by Jules Garnier, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004. • Feb 27, 2021

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Il Destino Svelato Dal Tarocco

The Cagliostro Tarot was first published in 1912 as “Il Destino Svelato Dal Tarocco”. • Sep 08, 2017

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Italian Playing Cards

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. • Jan 01, 1970

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Italian tarot cards, Lamperti (Milan) c.1850

Italian tarot cards, Lamperti (Milan) c.1850 • Jan 01, 1970

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Jeu Grotesque

Jeu Grotesque was first published in France c.1800. • Mar 21, 2018

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Kingdom of Playing Cards by Francesco Faggiano

Francesco Faggiano has created a pack inspired by Neapolitan cards, illustrations and images can be viewed on Francesco's Behance portfolio.

• Sep 27, 2013

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L’Utile col Diletto

Geographical and Heraldic Tarocchi cards from Bologna, 1725 • Jul 27, 2014

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Le Avventure di Pinocchio

Avventure di Pinocchio by Dal Negro, based on Carlo Collodi’s famous 1883 novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio”. • Nov 09, 2018

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Le Jeu de la Guerre

Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698. • Aug 13, 2020

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Liberty

Liberty playing cards designed by Antonella Castelli, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003. • Feb 28, 2021

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Lombardy (or Milanesi) pattern

The origins of the Lombardy pattern probably lie in the early 19th century when it was a full-length design. It has some affinities with the French Provence and Lyons patterns which are now obsolete. • Jan 24, 2010

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Martin Mystère

Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Alessandrini. • Jan 12, 2021

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Minchiate Fiorentine

The Florentine game of Minchiate is played with a pack of 97 cards. The subjects and arrangements of the trumps are slightly varied and their number increased to 41 by the addition of the three theological virtues, one of the cardinal virtues (Prudence), the 4 elements and the 12 signs of the zodiac... • Jan 01, 1970

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Minchiate Fiorentine, 17th C.

17th century Minchiate cards reprinted from the original woodblocks • Jul 10, 2014

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Mitelli ‘Gioco di Passatempo’

Il Gioco di Passatempo contains 40 figurative playing cards depicting moral virtues and vices, dated 1690 • Jul 22, 2014

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Mitelli Tarocchini

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. • Apr 16, 2013

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Modiano

• Jun 17, 2014

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Modiano Patience

Patience cards published by Modiano, c.1945 • Jun 18, 2014

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Musikalisches Kartenspiel

Facsimile of Dondorf’s “Musikalisches Kartenspiel” (c.1862) published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004 • Mar 31, 2018

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Myriorama

Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824. • Jan 17, 2022

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Neapolitan Cards Italian Cards by Raffaele Iaccarino

A modern twist on a classic Italian style of playing cards, this pack created by Raffaele Iaccarino is typical set of the southern regions of Italy mixed with his own style of artwork. • Oct 18, 2013

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Neapolitan Pattern

Neapolitan pattern • Jan 01, 1970

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Omnia Playing Cards

Inspired by ancient symbology and traditional playing cards, Omnia is the third pack designed by Giovanni Meroni. • Jun 22, 2015

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Pedro Bosio

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. • Sep 30, 2010