Minchiate Fiorentine (Baragioli, Florence)

Minchiate Fiorentine. Baragioli, Florence, Italy. Enlarged playing-tarot deck, Mediterranean suited, 97 single-headed cards. Size: 57mm x 97mm.

Deck make-up:
Trumps: 0-40.
Coins, clubs, cups, swords: A, 2-10, foot jack, half-man/half-beast jack, queen, king.

Minchiate Fiorentine refers to a special deck of 97 playing cards used for playing a game of the same name. The deck is closely related to the tarot deck, but contains an expanded suit of trumps. The game, which appeared in the early 16th century, was similar to but more complex than tarocchi. It was originally known as germini, after the Gemini (XXXV) card, the highest of the newly introduced trumps. The game spread from Florence to the rest of Italy and France, and survived in Genoa into the 1930s. It is no longer widely played.

The word minchiate comes from a dialect word meaning "nonsense" or "trifle", derived from mencla, the vulgar form of mentula, a Latin word for "phallus". The word minchione is attested in Italian as meaning "fool", and minchionare means "to laugh at" someone. The intended meaning may be "the game of the fool", considering that the card "The Fool", also called "The Excuse", features prominently in the game play of all tarot games.

The suits, which are the Mediterranean ones, include four court cards. The mounted (upper) jacks/knights are peculiar man/beast composites (like centaurs or sphinxes) in this and most related decks.

The pack shown here dates from somewhere between 1860 and 1890 and was issued by A Baragioli of Florence. The black outlines and borders were printed with a woodcut, with the watercolour washes added by hand.

(Note that a separate French version of minchiate called Minchiate Francesi (also called Minchiate de Poilly after its engravers François de Poilly and his son) also existed. It came in 98, 97 and 78-card variants, which each used various permutations of the same set of de Poilly engravings.)

Click on any card to explore the design.

(Comments or corrections, please e-mail: Click to see e-mail address.)


The trumps number 41, adding 20 to the usual 22, but dropping La Papesse familiar from the Marseilles pattern. Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance were three of the four classical cardinal virtues depicted in the more familiar tarot trumps. The Fiorentine minchiate supplies the remaining cardinal virtue — Prudence — and inserts them with the three theological virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity. The minchiate completes the series by adding all the zodiac signs (in random order) and the four classical elements.
The eight highest ranking trumps have a red background while the top five (called the arie or "airs") are unnumbered.
Row 1: 0 The Madman; I Pope One / The Pope / The Magician; II Pope Two / The Empress / The Grand Duke; III Pope Three / The Emperor / The Western Emperor; IIII Pope Four / The Father / The Eastern Emperor; V Love / (Pope Five – debated); VI Temperance; VII Fortitude; VIII Justice; VIIII Wheel Of Fortune.
Row 2: X The Chariot; XI The Hunchback / Time; XII The Hanged Man / The Traitor; XIII Death; XIIII The Devil; XV The House Of The Devil; XVI Hope; XVII Prudence; XVIII Faith; XVIIII Charity; XX Fire; XXI Water.
Row 3: XXII Earth; XXIII Air; XXIIII Libra; XXV Virgo; XXVI Scorpio; XXVII Aries; XXVIII Capricorn; XXVIIII Sagittarius; XXX Cancer; XXXI Pisces; XXXII Aquarius.
Row 4: XXXIII Leo; XXXIIII Taurus; XXXV Gemini; (XXXVI) The Star; (XXXVII) The Moon; (XXXVIII) The Sun; (XXXVIIII) The World; (XXXX) Fame Flies / The Trumpets.



Two of wands: the bottom half refers to Aesop's fable of the fox and the stork.



The 3 shows the she-wolf suckling Remus and Romulus, a symbol of Rome.


Links to other full tarot and divinatory decks

Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot Deck (AGM-Urania)

Ancient Italian Tarot / Tarocchino Milanese (Lo Scarabeo)

Golden Dawn Magical Tarot (Llewellyn Books)

The Golden Dawn Tarot (U.S. Games Systems)

Grand Etteilla (Tarots Egyptiens / Egyptian gypsies tarot) (Grimaud)

Grand Jeu De Mlle Lenormand (Grimaud)

(Petit) Lenormand / "Blue Owl" Lenormand (AGM-Urania)

The Hermetic Tarot (U.S. Games Systems)

Tarot Hiéroglyphique Egyptien (unknown, France)

Learning Tarot Cards (Witchy Cauldron)

Minchiate Fiorentine (Baragioli)

Nouveau Jeu De La Main (Grimaud)

Tarots Parisiens / Oracles Planetaires / Sorcier du XIXe Siècle (Viuda de Bouchard-Huzard)

Tarot Of The Renaissance (Lo Scarabeo)

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (Rider)

RWS Panorama (Deckstiny)

Sola-Busca Tarot (privately commissioned deck)

Le Tarot Astrologique / The Astrological Tarot (Grimaud)

Tarot De Marseilles (Conver-Camoin)

Tarot: Spécial Cercle / Tarot Nouveau / Tarot A Jouer / Jeu De Tarot / Bourgeois Tarot (Grimaud)

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