The Tarot Garden: masterpiece by Niki de Saint PhalleHow to visit the Tarot Garden in Capalbio: directions, opening times and useful information about how to get to this unique artistic park
On the border between Lazio and Tuscany, in the heart of Tuscia only 45 minutes by car from the Port of Civitavecchia and 1 hour from Viterbo is one of the most incredible parks ever made: we are talking about the fantastic Tarot Garden, designed by French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
The garden, open to the public in 1998, is located on the southern slope of the hill of Gravicchio, in Capalbio and it covers a surface of approximately 2 hectares inside of which can be found incredible sculptures up to 15 meters high representing the 22 arcanes of the Tarot, made of steel and concrete and covered with mirrors, glass and colored ceramics.
The wonder and amazement that you will experience visiting these colored giants is simply unique, as it is the atmosphere in the park. Follow us and we will take you to the discovery of this magical world and its history!
It all began toward the end of the seventies, after Niki de Saint Phalle visited the famous Park Guell in Barcelona by Antoni Gaudi and our Park of the Monsters in Bomarzo. The artist drew so much inspiration from these works that he began to devote herself body and soul to the creation of a garden, where she could freely express her visions and her whole explosive creativity.
Over more than 17 years she devoted himself, supported by different specialized workers and by some famous contemporary artists, to build 22 gigantic statues, each representing one of the Major Arcanes of the Tarot, covered with mosaics in mirror, glass and ceramics.
With this fantastic garden the sculptress crowned the dream of his childhood. During the visit you are literally transported into a surreal world enriched by quotes, messages and thoughts that accompany you along the way.
The entrance pavilion made by Mario Botta, consists of a long tuff wall with a circular opening in the center, which seems to emphasize the passage from the real to the dreamlike and enigmatic world of the Garden. The sinuous benches by Pierre Marie Le Jeune offer a lovely refreshment to contemplate the explosion of color and fantasy of the mosaics, and ceramics.
Having crossed the threshold of the entrance, you come to the large central square occupied by a tank and overlooked by the joined figures The High Priestess and the Magician, the first Major Arcanes of the Tarot that you encounter. The sculpture of The High Priestess, with the big mouth wide open and a clear homage to the Ogre of the Park of the Monsters in Bomarzo.
In the center of the circular tank in which the water gushing out from the mouth of The High Priestess is collected, is the Wheel of Fortune, self-propelled mechanical sculpture made by Jean Tinguely, husband of Niki de Saint Phalle.
And then it is impossible not to be fascinated bythe Tree of Life, with heads of snake in place of the branches and the trunk covered with inscriptions by the artist. Also the Pope, made with thread-like technique; the intense colors of the Sun, symbolized by a large colorful bird of fire, and smaller sculptures like Death, Temperance and the Lovers, made in Paris with the collaboration of Mario Zitelli and then produced in polyester by Robert, Gerard and Olivier Haligon.
The Garden of the Tarot is a continuous surprise, a splendid marriage between art, nature and spirituality.
Among the most representative sculptures of the complex certainly deserves a special mention the Empress, a gigantic statue inside which Niki de Saint Phalle also lived for long periods during the works. Yes, that's right! This gigantic sculpture hosts in its interior a bedroom, a living room and also a kitchen, and its walls are completely covered by thousands of fragments of Venetian glass mirrors!
Huge and opulent, with an excessively shapely body coated by a phantasmagoria of ceramics, this statue embodies perhaps better than any other sculpture the style adopted by the artist.
The rest is to you to discover in person... are you still hesitating? Visiting the Tarot Garden is a wonderful experience that will give you the chance to get away in a short but intense trip away from reality.
An absolute must if you love Gaudi's works in Barcelona, or are looking for an original idea to do on a weekend, but especially if you still believe in dreams and can't stop doing it!
The Tarot Garden
- HOW TO GET THERE
The best way to get to the Tarot Garden is by car. In fact, the train station of Capalbio is about 20 km away from the garden and it is not connected to any bus line.
If you don't have your own car, it is better to rent a car or take a taxi. From the Port of Civitavecchia, in fact, it takes about 45 minutes (withno traffic) to get to the Garden.
If you come from South, Civitavecchia or Rome: take Autostrada A12 towards Civitavecchia and once you get to the Port, follow directions to Raccordo Civitavecchia - Viterbo/E840. Once at Capalbio turn into Strada Statale 1 towards Strada Pescia Fiorentina Chiarone in Capalbio. Take exit towards Chiarone S./Pescia Fiorentina from Strada Statale 1 and continue along Strada Pescia Fiorentina Chiarone until you reach your destination. Pay attention to the signs for the Garden, since to get there you will have to drive along some country roads.
If you come from North: Autostrada del Sole A1, exit Firenze Certosa. Take split road Firenze/Siena and continue towards Grosseto SS 223 until you take SS1 Aurelia towards Rome. Continue following directions to Capalbio.
- Opening days from 1 April to 15 October: 2.30pm - to 7.30pm
Visiting times for groups from November to March: 8am to 4pm (except Saturday and sunday on public holidays and from 23 December to 7 JanuaryPlease Note: The visit to the park lasts about 2 hours.
Reduced: €7 (children aged 7 to 16 years old, students, over 65 and groups of at least 25 people prior reservation)
Groups of 25 people or more are eligible for the concession rate (€7.00) when booking more than 10 days in advance by email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Free admission: children under 7 years old and disabled.
*To benefit from the student discount you will have to show a student card at the ticket office.The first Saturday in the month, January to March and November to December, from 9am to 1pm, the park will grant all visitors free entry.If this Saturday falls on a public holiday, the Giardino will open the following Saturday.