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The place of dreams : The Tarot Garden of Niki de Saint Phalle

Il luogo dei sogni : Il Giardino dei Tarocchi de Niki de Saint Phalle

(The place of dreams : The Tarot Garden)

Capalbio, July 9 – November 3, 2021
Palazzo Collacchioni – Galleria Il Frantoio

The City of Capalbio pays tribute to the work of Niki de Saint Phalle, centered on her artistic relationship with Italy, with a major exhibition curated by Lucia Pesapane.

Tarot Garden, 1991 @Il Giardino dei Tarocchi. Litografia 60.3 x 80 cm

Thanks to the testimonies of friends and collaborators, who with the artist gave life to the Tarot Garden, the exhibition tells the actuality of the feminist, ecological, avant-garde and committed message that she left us as a gift. More than 100 works, including sculptures, drawings, videos, photographs between the sixties and nineties, some of which are unpublished and never presented to the public.

The generosity of collectors with the collaboration of the Tarot Garden Foundation, The Niki Charitable Art Foundation and Capalbio Foundation have finally made this important project possible.

The Tarot Garden, a splendid artistic park located in Garavicchio in the municipality of Capalbio, is the result of a lifetime dedicated by Niki de Saint Phalle to art and the proof that dreams can come true, even if you are a woman, an artist, an entrepreneur and the sole financier of such a work. Like most of her work, the Garden is the manifestation of a microcosm capable of revealing the deepest and most secret archetypal images of our unconscious. For the visitor who crosses the perimeter wall, which symbolically separates the real world from the imaginary one, an initiatory journey opens up, leading him to fight dragons and devils and to run into queens and prophets to finally meet the Angel of Temperance.

Italy / Viva Italia, 1984
Viva l’Italia, 1984. Collezione Privata. Litografia 98 x 68 cm

The Tarot Garden is a place to live in community, a place where life is marked by the rhythm of the sun and the moon and by the will to share. This artistic path, which translates into a real political action, is today more relevant than ever, in a reality where the concepts of confinement and solitude undermine the foundations of a society that the artist wanted based instead on the sense of participation.

In Capalbio Niki de Saint Phalle shares everything with her assistants and friends, she values and encourages her collaborators to create with her in the name of a collective project where Art is the absolute protagonist. Already in the eighties the artist put into action her research to live in a different collectivity, in a compassionate and empathic society rich in community values. Not only as an artist but also as a woman of action and avant-garde. An ante litteram feminist, from the fifties she defended the civil rights of African-Americans. In the nineties was strong her criticism of the old Continent, which promulgated a dangerous rise of conservatism, siding in favor of a united and progressive Europe. “I dream of living in a space without borders”- he always declared. His reflections on ecological issues and climate change became increasingly urgent, especially in the last years of his life. In light of these social commitments, which she was so passionate about, Niki would certainly have considered the crisis we are facing today as a crucial moment to create something new and better. Deeply convinced of the human capacity for innovation and reinvention, she would have interpreted this time as a moment of collective awareness, which can open a new way against the arrogance and aggressiveness of the political, economic and financial system.

La Lune (Moon Goddess), 1997
La Lune, 1997. © Il Giardino dei Tarocchi Litografia, collage, adesivi brillanti 75 x 56.8 cm

Il luogo dei sogni : Il Giardino dei Tarocchi de Niki de Saint Phalle follows a precise thematic path: the exhibition takes place in two exhibition places that intersect and complement each other, but each of them has its own specific soul. In Palazzo Collacchioni, in the ancient village of Capalbio, the history of the Tarot Garden is retraced, from the late seventies to the present day through photos, videos, sculptures, maquettes, collages that help to understand his way of working and his true spirit. In the Gallery Il Frantoio are exposed some historical works, including assemblages of the ’60s, raw clay maquettes preliminary to the realization of the Garden, his final masterpiece, and unpublished archive videos.

Here the curatorial choices have privileged the analysis of the symbolic language of the artist, focusing on the interpretation of the Tarot cards. Sculptures of the cards are also exhibited, accompanied by lithographs, drawings and quotations.

The press release ( in italian only)

Tarot Card Painting : lesson plans

Tarot Card Painting : lesson plans


The Niki Charitable Art Foundation (NCAF) welcomes educational interaction and learning through Niki’s art. On its website, please take a look to art projects that can be done using simple materials in school settings guided by education professionals, or at home with parental and instructional guidance.

Below-posted is the lesson plan about the Tarot Garden.
Students will learn about Tarot Cards and their symbolism, modeled by Niki de Saint Phalle’s designed deck and create a Tarot Card of their own.


Lesson Overview:

Students will learn about Niki de Saint Phalle’s Personal & Artistic Biography, highlighting one of her major works, the Tarot Garden. Students will analyze symbols on the Tarot Cards to learn to express visual meaning and create their own Tarot Card.

Project Overview:

Using a variety of Tarot Card examples, students will make their own version of a Tarot Card. Students will use color theory, symbolism, and the principles and elements of design to paint their own rendering of a Major Arcana Tarot Card


  • What are examples of symbols we see everyday that convey a meaning?
  • What symbol do you resonate with? What is a symbol that you would relate yourself with?
  • We see how Niki took symbols from a Tarot Card Deck and made her own versions for her garden. How can we create our own meaning to existing symbols? What are they going to say/communicate with others?
  • What are some of your virtues and strengths?
  • What card do you like and why?
  • Is there an attribute of human nature that you think is missing from the Major Arcana? What is it?

Tarot Card Painting : complete lesson plan

View all lessons plans from the NCAF

Art in the making: what is Tarot?

It is an ancient card game consisting of 78 cards. There are 22 Trump cards also known as Major Arcana, and 4 suits consisting of 10 number cards and 4 court cards. Each card is loaded with symbols. The Major Arcana has 22 cards, each with its own title and meaning. Some universal symbols include the Sun, the Moon, Death, Strength, the Tower, and the Star.

Niki created her own version of the Tarot Cards in drawings and then made them into sculptures. Sometimes as an artist, you can use already existing material to inspire you, and create your own version of it. Instead of using the same images that someone already made, you can transform them and making them into your personal rendering.

Take a closer look at the these cards done by Niki de Saint Phalle, What can you take away from her choice of color?

Take a look at the examples from the Rider-Waite Tarot, what type of compositions are used? Are the titles easily recognized in the imagery of each card?



At the beginning of lesson have students quickly draw:

  1. Star
  2. Moon
  3. Sun
  4. The World.

Then have them draw less universal symbols:

  1. The Tower
  2. Strength
  3. The Wheel (of fortune).

Later, compare and contrast similarities of symbols  on the first list vs the second list. Highlight how the simple symbols all look similar but have their own flair; whereas, those of the second list look different in everyones own version. This brings back the idea and awareness of universality in symbols and individuality in production.

•    Any type of Paint
•    Brushes
•    Canvas Panel or Heavy stock paper any dimension
•    Cup with Water


Visit instructions


  1. The interpersonal safety distance for the prevention of COVID-19 infection is 1 meter. Where possible it is recommended to maintain a distance of 1.8 meters.
  2. Visitors can enter only with a protective mask (required over 6 years of age), which covers the nose and mouth. In addition, it is mandatory to disinfect your hands with the available sanitizer or to use disposable gloves.
  3. Admission can only take place in the absence of a fever (temperature below 37.5 degrees): visitors may therefore be subjected to a measurement of body temperature by the staff.
  4. Access to the Tarot Garden can be regulated and contingent in quantity and frequency.
  5. For every space and environment open to the public, the Tarot Garden organizes the entry flows according to the requirementsthe social distance indications.
  6. Prefer your credit card to cash when paying for your ticket.
  7. In the bookshop, for the consultation of books and to allow to handle all other items, the use of disposable gloves is mandatory. However, it is possible to view a sample of the products and tell the salesperson which item you want to buy.
  8. TG staff are also responsible for verifying and ensuring that the social distance is maintained. It is very important to collaborate in accordance with the rules and directions of the staff to ensure everyone a serene, enjoyable and conscious visit in the Museum Park: it is an opportunity to admire The Tarot Garden in a context of pleasant tranquility.

Culturals events – Summer 2020

Culturals events – Summer 2020 : our selection

-QUARTETTO DI CREMONA music by Puccini, Beethoven : July 25th

-EVENING OF JAZZ MUSIC edited by the record company GIANDO MUSIC : date to be defined

– CINE LUX : July 25th + August 1st, 6th & 13th
film festival with screening of the winning films of the LUX FILM PRIZE competition held by the European Parliament. – 6 July – 14 August : film review edited by the Association Capalbio Young every

– CALICI DI STELLE : August 10th

– CAPALBIO LIBRI meetings with the authors

– INTERNATIONAL PRIZE CAPALBIO PIAZZA MAGENTA to the most significant books of 2020 in the different categories

By Il Frantoio
info : FACEBOOK il Frantoio ristorante ed arte a Capalbio/ / +393357504436

AUGMENTED LIBERTY exhibition spread in the village of Capalbio with works in AUGMENTED REALITY, exhibition of the originals in the Gallery Il Frantoio and in the Castle of Capalbio from 15 July to the end of August.

-ARTE&VINO installations and sculptures in the 7 cellars of Capalbio from 5 September to 1 November with the possibility of tours and tastings

DJ SET_ PERFORMANCE with artists in the Galleria il Frantoio



Sorry, this entry is only available in Italiano.

(Italiano) Politica di rimborso dei biglietti

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italiano.

(Italiano) Uso dei droni

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italiano.


Groups of 25 people or more are eligible for the concession rate (€7.00) when booking more than 10 days in advance by email:  fax: 0564 895700.


When booking, please indicate:

  • Date and time of arrival.
  • Number of persons in group.
  • Contact phone/fax numbers and an email address.


Visiting times for groups


from1st to 31th of  March from 8 am to 4 pm  (not Saturdays and Sundays  and public holidays).

1 April to 15 October 2.30 pm to 7.30 pm (in these days we do not  take group bookings: Easter-Monday of the angel – 25th April-1st May-2nd June)
January to March and November to December, the first Saturday in the month, from 9am to 1pm, the park’s founder Niki de Saint Phalle has decided to grant all visitors free entry. If this Saturday falls on a public holiday, the  Giardino  will open the following Saturday.

Early Opening March 30, 2018

We’re glad to inform you,   the Tarot Garden in  the occasion of the upcoming Easter holidays,  will make an early opening of the  season  on March 30, 2018, with the ordinary opening hours (from 14:30 to 19:30).

easter 2016

Please note that the Tarot Garden, on 26th, 27th and 28th of March,will observe the normal opening (from 14:30 to 19:30).