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The Classical Tarot, or The Classic Tarot
by Carlo Dellarocca

The Classical Tarot - XIV - Temperance This is a tarot deck my grandmother would appreciate. Her parents came to America from Italy in the very early 1900's, and never gave up their "old world" ways. They made their own pasta by hand, kept a working farm, owned a neighborhood deli and market, and spent their evenings playing guitar and singing songs. Some of the traditions of my Italian ancestors have been passed down to me through my grandmother. One of them is a practice of Italian folk magic, and most certainly my grandmother's own interest in divination influenced me when I was very young.

My grandmother would enjoy the way these cards evoke an Italian heritage, through their fine art and decorative style. Although she has visited Italy, she has never lived there. ... Her appreciation of Italy isn't as much based on a modern Italy, but on her understanding of her ancestral origins. These cards seem to reflect that old-fashioned picture of Italy.

The Classical Tarot is a reproduction of a deck designed in 1835 by Carlo Dellarocca, who was an important engraver in Milan. For more than one hundred years, the original designs were copied and printed all over Italy. They quickly became one of the most well-known decks of Italy, and became a popular alternative to French tarot of the time.

The images are of course traditional. Dress and decoration are elaborate, but their colors are subdued and soft. The artwork is delicate and literal. A modern addition to this deck is the series of keywords on every card; provided in four languages as an aid to understanding card meanings. Number cards do not have figures or scenes. Court cards are King, Queen, Knight, and Knave. The accompanying booklet is very small and provides only the most basic introduction to tarot and ideas for interpretation.

Because of the artwork, style, and indirect tie to my own heritage, I prefer these cards to some other very traditional tarot decks. I would recommend them for people who wish to evoke tarot history when doing readings.

The Classical Tarots - Ace of Cups The Classical Tarots - VII - The Chariot The Classical Tarots - Four of Wands
Card artwork by Carlo Dellarocca; Lo Scarabeo

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Tarot review by Nellie Levine

Publishing tarot deck reviews, original tarot spreads, articles, and personal reflections for tarot enthusiasts, practitioners of the intuitive arts, and followers of alternative spirituality since 1999. Woman owned.
All writing, reviews, and photography © Nellie Levine, unless otherwise noted. 1999-2022