Return to Cauldron Home Page

Please donate now to pay our monthly server fees:
Donate to The Cauldron
[More Info]

Community Menu
Community Home

Message Board
Board Home
Board Rules
Board Extras:

CauldronMUX [Client]
Sister Forums:
   Asatru Lore


Site Info & Rules
Site Archives
Volunteers Needed
Advertise Here

Pagan Supplies
Buy Pagan Books
Buy Pagan Supplies

Books & Media
Books Home
Games Home
Music: Free | Pagan
Online Books
Pagan Book Browser
   Academic Books
   Divination Decks
   Fiction Books
   Pagan Books
   Speculative Books
   DVD & Videotape
Submit Review

Pagan Features
Article Library
Chat Log Index
File Library
Pagan Holidays
Pagan Primer
Pagan Rituals
Pagan Supplies
Pagan Youth
Spell Grimoire [Blog]
Web Resources

Pagan Living
Cauldron Cookbook
Take Political Action

Back Issues

Other Features
Greeting Cards
Syndicated Articles
World News/Opinion

Cheap Web Hosting
Doxy's Bazaar
Witchcraft Course

Old Indexes
Article Index
Webcrafting Index

Network Sites
Cauldron and Candle
Cauldron's Grimoire
RetroRoleplaying: The Blog
Software Gadgets
The Terran Empire

Site Search
Entire Web
The Cauldron

Member - Pagan Forum Alliance
Charter Member

Get Firefox! While this web site is designed to work in all major browsers, we recommend Firefox.

This site hosted on
a Linode VPS
Formerly hosted by

Why Use Dreamhost?

Site copyright
© 1998-2009
by Randall

Home > Books & Reviews > Decks > Visconti Tarot Search

Tarot Deck Review:
Visconti Tarot

Author: Giordano Berti and Tiberio Gonard Artist: A. A. Atanassov
Book and Cards Set
Publisher: Llewellyn (Lo Scarabeo)
Publication date: September 2002
ISBN: 0738702935
View Sample Cards
Price & More Info: Click Here


The Visconti Tarot is printed with shining gold foil -- quite a bit of gold foil, in fact. This deck is a modern recreation (not a reproduction) of what is believed to be the world's oldest surviving complete Tarot deck. The original deck was commissioned by the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza, in 1450 AD. It is a wonderful example of Italian Renaissance era art. I've never seen one of the reproduction decks, so I can't comment on the card box claim that they are "restored to their original splendour" by Atanassov except to say that the artwork on the major arcana and court courts is splendid.

This deck, like most early continental decks, only has full illustrations on the major arcana and court cards. The pip cards are just that: pips. The cards that are fully illustrated, however, are windows into the past, depicting things as they were seen and thought of in the 1400s. The cards generally have less detail and symbolism than many modern decks, but are still easy to read from. Some of the cards show respect for the patron who commissioned them by working his family emblem into the picture, often in clothing. All the cards are labeled in several languages within their black borders. I've heard a few people mention that they think some of the pips cards are upside down. As I haven't seen the original, I cannot comment on this. However, there are no obviously upside down pip cards. Of course, given that the pip cards are just collections of cups, wands, swords or coins, it would be hard to detect just by looking at the deck.

Unlike the majority of the Lo Scarabeo decks I've seen, the Visconti Tarot comes with a trade paperback book of some 160 pages instead of a small flyer or multi-language booklet. This book was translated from the Italian by Harriet Graham and Elizabeth O'Neill. The first part of the book, written by Giordano Berti, traces the history of the Tarot and of this deck in particular. Then it goes on to talk about divination and some simple Tarot layouts. The rest of the book, written by Tiberio Gonard, details the cards. The information on the major arcana cards is fascinating. Each card is placed in a historical perspective so one has a chance to see what the illustration would have meant in the deck's own era. The major arcana cards have two pages each, while the minor arcana receive only one. While this is probably not the best book to learn the art of Tarot divination from, it is miles ahead of the usual Lo Scarabeo flyers or booklets.

This deck is one which is interesting and worthy of a close look. However, my personal recommendation is neutral. I love the artwork on the major arcana and court cards, but the pips are boring even for pips. I really can't read with it. However, as the oldest Tarot deck known, the Visconti Tarot is a worthy addition to any Tarot collection. This Lo Scarabeo recreation is lovely. Take a look at this deck when you get a chance and decide for yourself. Please note that the sample card scan does not do justice to the gold foil.

Reviewed by Randall

Top | Home | Message Board | Site Info & Rules | Report Site Problems
Thanks to Cauldron Sponsors
(Sponsor The Cauldron!)

Cheap Web Hosting Report | Pagan & Magick Supplies
Witchcraft Course
Download Hundreds of Magic Spells