Il Luogi dei Sogni : Il Giardino dei Tarocchi di Niki de Saint Phalle

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

Capalbio, 9 July – 3 November 2021
Collacchioni Palace – Il Frantoio Gallery

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

tarot-garden-niki-saint-pahlle-lucia-pesapaneTarot Garden, 1991 @Il Giardino dei Tarocchi. Litografia 60.3 x 80 cm

Thanks to the testimonies of friends and collaborators, who together with the artist gave life to the Tarot Garden, the exhibition tells the relevance 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More than 100 works, including sculptures, drawings, videos, photographs from the 1960s to the 1990s, some of which are unpublished and never presented to the public.

The generosity of collectors with the collaboration of the Fondazione Il Giardino dei Tarocchi, The Niki Charitable Art Foundation and Fondazione Capalbio have finally made this important event possible project.

The Tarot Garden, a splendid artistic park located in Garavicchio in the municipality of Capalbio, is the result of an entire life dedicated by Niki de Saint Phalle to art and proof that dreams can come true, even if you are a woman, an artist , entrepreneur and 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 which leads him to fight dragons and devils and come across queens and prophets to finally meet the Angel of Temperance .

Italy / Viva Italia, 1984Viva 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 moon and by the desire to share. This artistic path, which translates into real political action, is today more relevant than ever, in a reality where the concepts of imprisonment and solitude undermine the foundations of a society that the artist desired based instead on meaning of participation.

In Capalbio Niki de Saint Phalle shares everything with her assistants and friends, values and encourages her collaborators to create with her in the name of a collective project where the absolute protagonist is Art. Already in the 1980s the artist implemented his quest to live in a different community, in a compassionate and empathetic society rich in community values. Not only as an artist but also as a woman of action and avant-garde. She was an ante litteram feminist, starting from the 1950s she defended the civil rights of African-Americans. In the 1990s, she was highly critical of the old continent, which promulgated a dangerous rise in conservatism, arguing in favor of a united and progressive Europe. “I dream of living in a space without borders” – you have always declared. Her reflections on ecological issues and climate change became increasingly urgent, especially in the last years of her life. In light of these social commitments, which have fascinated you so much, Niki you 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 path against the arrogance and aggressiveness of the political, economic and financial system.

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

The place of dreams: The Tarot Garden by Niki de Saint Phalle follows a precise thematic path: the exhibition takes place in two exhibition spaces that intersect and complement each other, but each of these has a its specific soul. At Palazzo Collacchioni, in the ancient village of Capalbio, the history of the Tarot Garden is retraced, from the end of the seventies to today through photos, videos, sculptures, maquettes, collages that help to understand its way of working and its true spirit . Some historical works are exhibited in the Il Frantoio Gallery, including assemblages from the 1960s, raw clay maquettes preliminary to the creation of the Garden, his final masterpiece, and unpublished archive videos.

Here the curatorial choices have favored the analysis of the artist's symbolic language, focusing on the interpretation of the Tarot cards. Sculptures of the cards are also on display, accompanied by lithographs, drawings and quotes.

Il press release (solo in italiano)

Tarot Card Painting : lesson plans (in english)

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


Instructions for your visit

  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 metres.
  2. Entrance by visitors takes place exclusively with a protective mask (mandatory above 6 years of age), which covers the nose and mouth. Furthermore, it is mandatory to sanitize your hands with the disinfectant gel dispensers made available or to use disposable gloves.
  3. Entry can only take place in the absence of fever (temperature below 37.5°): visitors may therefore be subjected to body temperature measurement by the staff in charge
  4. Access to the Tarot Garden may be regulated and limited in quantity and frequency.
  5. For each space and environment open to the public, the Tarot Garden organizes entry flows based on social distancing requirements.
  6. To pay for tickets, use a credit card rather than cash.
  7. In the bookshop, to consult the books and to allow you to handle all the other objects on display, the use of disposable gloves is mandatory. However, it is possible to view a sample of the products and indicate to the sales assistant which item you wish to purchase.
  8. The staff of the Tarot Garden also have the task of verifying and ensuring that social distancing is maintained. The collaboration of visitors in compliance with the rules and instructions of the staff is very important to guarantee everyone a peaceful, enjoyable and informed visit to the Museum Park: it is an opportunity to admire the Tarot Garden in a context of pleasant tranquility .

Cultural events – Summer 2020

Cultural events – Summer 2020: A selection

    - CREMONA QUARTET music by Puccini, Beethoven: 25 July - EVENING OF JAZZ MUSIC curated by the record company GIANDO MUSIC: Date to be defined
  • CINEMA in the SQUARE
    – CINE LUX: 25 July/ 1, 6, 13 August
    cinema review with screening of the winning films of the LUX FILM PRIZE competition announced by the European Parliament. - 6 July - 14 August: cinema review curated by the Capalbio Giovani association every
    – GLASSES OF STARS : 10 August
    – CAPALBIO LIBRI meetings with the authors - INTERNATIONAL CAPALBIO PIAZZA MAGENTA AWARD to the most significant books of 2020 in the different categories
  • CONTEMPORARY ART By Il Frantoio info : FACEBOOK il Frantoio restaurant and art in Capalbio/ / +393357504436
    -AUGMENTED LIBERTY widespread exhibition in the village of Capalbio with works in AUGMENTED REALITY, exhibition of the originals in the Galleria Il Frantoio and in the Castle of Capalbio from 15 July to the end of August.
    information-ART&WINE 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



Dogs are permitted to enter only with a leash and muzzle.

Ticket refund policy

Ticket refunds are permitted only in the event of closure of the Garden for technical or meteorological reasons.

I rimborsi possono essere richiesti a decorrere dal giorno seguente e tassativamente entro e non oltre 15 giorni dalla data annullata e vanno richiesti a mezzo mail al seguente indirizzo:

There are no partial refunds.

Use of drones

We inform you that the use of drones inside the Garden is prohibited.


Groups of at least 25 people can take advantage of the reduced price (€7.00). For elementary schools the price is €3.00 provided that the visit is booked at least 10 days in advance, by E-mail or Fax 0564-895700

The reservation must indicate
— date and time of arrival;
— number of visitors;
— your telephone number, fax and e-mail -mail.

                                   Reservations are accepted on the following dates

From 1 to 31 March from 8.00 to 16.00 (excluding: Saturday, Sunday, holidays)

From 1 April to 15 October from 2.30pm to 7.30pm (Easter - Easter Monday - 25 April - 1 May - 2 June
on these days we do not take group bookings)

Early opening of the season on March 30, 2018

We are pleased to inform you that the Tarot Garden, on the occasion of the upcoming Easter holidays, will open the season early on 30 March 2018 respecting the normal opening hours (from 2.30pm to 7pm :30).

Easter 2016

We inform you that the Tarot Garden will be open normally (from 2.30 pm to 7.30 pm) on the 26th, 27th and 28th of March.