Tarocchino bolognes


Cards are one of the most popular games in the world, and the most versatile, as the same deck can be used for different games.

In Europe there are two different types of cards: the so-called French cards (hearts, diamonds, Spades, clubs) and the Spanish or Italian (coins, swords, cups, clubs). Tarot cards were also very popular, but from the 7th century onwards they were used primarily as divination cards, and few games still use this particular deck.

However, there are other types of cards, with different suits and  figures, according to local traditions.

Historical Background

Since the invention of paper occurred around 2 A.C. in China, it does not come as a surprise that the first examples of cards are Chinese.

Ancient Chinese cards, called I Ching, were not only used to play but had ritual significance. The first reports of card games come from minor Asia  and Egypt.

These cards were not numerals as today's decks, but represented various figures, and were used for memory games. It was probably thanks to the Mamluks, mercenaries  coming from Egypt, that the game of cards spread, reaching Europe towards the end of the 14th century.

Thanks to their cheap materials and  versatility, cards soon became popular among poor strata of population, while courts still played with Board games, more expensive and sophisticated.

When playing cards finally spread among the higher strata of the population, courts had their decks custom-designed by famous artists. Vasari recalls how Pollajuolo used to draw card decks, while Mantegna, or one of his students, draw some “Trionfi” (i.e. Trumps, the fifth suit used in some games, which later became Tarot cards).

Game Communities

Stù, Montorio al Vomano (Teramo), Abruzzo

Tarocchino, Bologna (Bologna), Emilia Romagna

Truco, Vallio Terme (Brescia), Lombardia