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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

83 Articles

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.

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.

Italian Playing Cards

Myriorama

Myriorama of Italian scenery, 1824.

Myriorama

Portraits of a Lady

Portraits of a Lady by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.

Portraits of a Lady

Alice

Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.

Alice

Liberty

Liberty playing cards designed by Antonella Castelli, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.

Liberty

Il Circo

Il Circo illustrated by Jules Garnier, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004.

Il Circo

William Tell

Facsimile of Swiss William Tell deck from c.1870 published by Lo Scarabeo.

William Tell

Baracca & Burattini

Baracca & Burattini puppetry deck printed by Dal Negro, 1998.

Baracca & Burattini

Martin Mystère

Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Alessandrini.

Martin Mystère

Le Jeu de la Guerre

Facsimile of “Le Jeu de la Guerre” designed by Gilles de la Boissière in 1698.

Le Jeu de la Guerre

Le Avventure di Pinocchio

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

Le Avventure di Pinocchio

Musikalisches Kartenspiel

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

Musikalisches Kartenspiel

Pinocchio

Pinocchio fairy tale playing cards illustrated by Iassen Ghiuselev for Lo Scarabeo, 2003.

Pinocchio

Jeu Grotesque

Jeu Grotesque was first published in France c.1800.

Jeu Grotesque

Dal Negro Bridge set

Dal Negro Bridge set featuring old Vienna pattern courts.

Dal Negro Bridge set

Carte Romane

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

Carte Romane

Cuccù

Cuccù or Cucco, an ancient Italian card game, published by Masenghini, 1979.

Cuccù

Sarde Pattern

Sarde pattern published by Modiano, c.1975, based on early XIX century Spanish model.

Sarde Pattern

Triestine Pattern

The Triestine pattern is derived from the Venetian (Trevisane) pattern but with its own characteristics.

Triestine Pattern

Trentine Pattern

Trentine Pattern

Trentine Pattern

Primiera Bolognese

Primiera Bolognese by Modiano, c.1975

Primiera Bolognese

Bergamasche Pattern

Bergamasche Pattern by Modiano, 1970s.

Bergamasche Pattern

Tarocchini Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi

Tarocchini Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi, c.1850

Tarocchini Bolognesi by Carlo Zanardi

Hermanos Solesi

“Money Bag” pattern by Hermanos Solesi, late 18th c.

Hermanos Solesi

V. F. Solesio Tarot

V. F. Solesio Tarot, Genoa, mid-late 19th century

V. F. Solesio Tarot

Rois de France

Cartes des Rois de France (1644) facsimile edition by Edizioni del Solleone, 1986.

Rois de France

Il Destino Svelato Dal Tarocco

The Cagliostro Tarot was first published in 1912 as “Il Destino Svelato Dal Tarocco”.

Il Destino Svelato Dal Tarocco

Sorrento Napoletane

Souvenir of Sorrento by Carte Da Gioco Muoio, Naples, c.2010

Sorrento Napoletane

Alitalia

Alitalia advertising deck produced by Premier Portfolio International Ltd.

Alitalia

Tarocchi di Mantegna, c.1465

The so-called Tarocchi di Mantegna (c.1465) reflect an ideological structure bringing to mind the soul's progress towards perfection.

Tarocchi di Mantegna, c.1465

Genovesi Pattern

Genoese pattern from Italy.

Genovesi Pattern

Cities of Art - Naples

Striking views of Naples, photography by Cesare Gerolimetto, produced by Dal Negro.

Cities of Art - Naples

Omnia Playing Cards

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

Omnia Playing Cards

Fantasy Italian style

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

Fantasy Italian style

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.

History of Flight

Gumppenberg of Milan

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

Gumppenberg of Milan

L’Utile col Diletto

Geographical and Heraldic Tarocchi cards from Bologna, 1725.

L’Utile col Diletto

Mitelli ‘Gioco di Passatempo’

Il Gioco di Passatempo contains 40 figurative playing cards depicting moral virtues and vices, dated 1690.

Mitelli ‘Gioco di Passatempo’

World Bridge

‘World Bridge’ produced by Modiano in Trieste, Italy, since around 1950.

World Bridge

Club Bridge

Modiano’s ‘Club Bridge’ is a new edition of a stylish deck originally published in c.1895.

Club Bridge

Portuguese pattern

19th century Portuguese pattern, re-printed from original woodblocks.

Portuguese pattern

Minchiate Fiorentine, 17th C.

17th century Minchiate cards reprinted from the original woodblocks.

Minchiate Fiorentine, 17th C.

Modiano Patience

Patience cards published by Modiano, c.1945.

Modiano Patience

Credito Commerciale

Playing cards designed by Enzo Laurà for Credito Commerciale, 1978.

Credito Commerciale

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.

Neapolitan Cards Italian Cards by Raffaele Iaccarino

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.

Kingdom of Playing Cards by Francesco Faggiano

Etruria Minchiate

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

Etruria Minchiate