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Suit System:IT
Recommended Name:  the Intermediate Piedmontese Tarot.

This pattern was originally classified as IT-1.21.


This pattern seems mostly to have been made in eastern Piedmont and emerged in the first half of the 19th century, probably not surviving into the 20th century since by that time the makers of most of the smaller cardmaking centres of east Piedmont had disappeared, leaving Turin and Genoa to devote their sophisticated machinery to the manufacture of IT-1.211 and IT-1.31. It retained the wide format of IT-1.2 and also had no turnover edges. All inscriptions were in Italian. All trumps and court cards were single-figure.

An outstanding mark of difference between this pattern and late examples of IT-1.2 lies in the numbering of the trumps: in this pattern roman numerals are retained but are repeated in diagonally opposite corners of each card. (As usual in Piedmont, there is at least one exception).

The Jacks have no captions but trump XIII is named "La Morte". The Chariot's wheels are large, Justice has wings, usually the Hermit wears his hood, the Hanged Man has uncrossed legs and the lightning flash on Trump XVI came from a quarter circle. In some packs the Mountebank in Trump I carried a dice box in place of a wand. The Ace of Cups retains the font shape of its predecessors. Unlike his ancestor in IT-1 and IT-1.2, the Cavalier of Cups wore a hat or helmet. Unusual names were II Pazzo (or II Matto) for the Fool and L'Impicato for the Hanged Man (Trump XII). The Chariot's name had become La Carozza. A variant on Trump XV is the pirating by Fantini of the Devil from IT-1.3.


The usual composition for a 78-card Tarot pack. 4 suits of 14 cards (1-10, Jack, Cavalier, Queen, King), 21 numbered trumps plus the Fool. If, on rare occasions, a 54-card pack was required, the 1-6 of Swords and Batons and the 5-10 of Cups and Coins were omitted.

Some Makers

Battista Farinone, Varallo (c.1845);

Fantini, Ghemme (c.1860);

Fantini, Novaro (c.1865);

F. Strambo, Varallo (c.1885);

Solesio, Genoa (c.1890).

Intermediate Piedmontese Tarot

Illustration 1 of Intermediate Piedmontese Tarot  (jpg 727 x 949)
Illustration 2 of Intermediate Piedmontese Tarot  (jpg 727 x 949)
Cards made by Farinone of Varallo and Fantini of Ghemme.

The International Playing-Card Society January, 1981

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