This summer has not been very generous in Switzerland (and probably in the rest of Europe too). We didn’t have much sun and we had just few occasions to spend time outside and swim in the lakes and rivers.

So we thought to take some time off and head to Italy. But as usual we got homesick after a while and when my friend Bea reminded me of Swiss-French artist Niki de Saint Phalle’s Garden of Tarot (in Italian “Giardino dei Tarocchi”), I knew right away that I couldn’t miss it this time.

We noticed cars with Swiss plates in the parking outside right when we arrived.

Inspired by Gaudì’s Parc Guell and Garden of Bomarzo, Niki de Saint Phalle started building her garden in 1979 with her husband, Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, near Pescia Fiorentina (Tuscany, at the border of Latium). Decorated with 22 giant sculptures, inspired to the tarots, it is a beautiful example of artist’s garden. It is opened only in Spring and Summer as it needs a lot of maintenance and water in the fountains could freeze.

The visitor is welcomed by the words of the artist that was deeply in love with Italy and its beauties.

entrata targa

From the entrance the visitor is surrounded by the colors, sounds and scents of the garden and the giant sculptures and fountains by Niki de Saint Phalle, which include Tinguely’s mobile metal sculptures/machines. Ceramics were casted exclusively for this place so it took more almost 20 years to finish the work.

sole luna fontana fontana 2

The eye can’t rest: every single detail is perfect. The sculptures are covered with ceramic tiles, glasses, mirrors. Every tile and briquette is either decorated or inscribed by the artist.

mondo tower dall'altro couple death tower2 missil general justice landscape double seat angel

Some of the sculptures are actually architectures that can be explored inside (including a fully equipped apartment with a bedchamber, a bathroom and a kitchen covered with mirrors) or on the top. Chairs and seats of various kind were everywhere so we could relax a little bit and enjoy the beautiful view.

cucina camera da letto

The echo of the thoughts of the artists, inscribed in words on the floor, continues to accompany the visitor, guiding him or her in the long loving process of building such a place.

The playful and joyful mood of the place makes it a perfect venue if you are visiting with kids. Furthermore the visit doesn’t take long (kind of 1h) and it doesn’t need much walking so it is suitable for all ages.

I hope that next summer I will be able to go back with my friend Bea and her mom as I am pretty sure they would love it!

(ps. I am not the only one who visited the Gardens of Tarots this Summer: my friend from blocal-travel wrote a beautiful post about it – and Bomarzo garden. Check it out!