This page is dedicated to the Minchiate Tarot (also known as Germini), one of the oldest Tarots in the world. There are documented entries of its existence as early as the 15th century, although it wasn’t until the 18th century, that it reached its greatest popularity, accounting for 10% of Florence’s playing card exports. The Minchiate Tarot originated in Florence, Italy, but there were also decks produced in Bologna.
The Tarot has been associated with occultism and magic since the late 18th century. Since then and until today, it has been used mainly as an esoteric tool, for cartomancy as an oracle, and to inquire into our emotions and unconscious. But long before that (15th century) the Tarot was known as a board game, with its own rules, and people could gather to pass the time, drink, play, laugh, share, and enjoy, and even place bets.
Zodiac Signs 12
One of the features that makes this type of Italian deck so special, is that it has 97 cards
• 56 cards that correspond to the 4 seeds (or suits) of Cups, Clubs, Coins and Swords, (40 numerals and 16 court cards) known today as “Minor Arcana”
• 40 triumphs or “Major Arcana” and
• 1 fool.
The minchiate not only has “extra” cards, there are also missing cards, such as the Pope.
Which are the extra cards?
• 7 virtues instead of 3: Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, Hope, Prudence, Faith and Charity.
• It also includes the 12 zodiac signs, and
• The 4 elements: Fire, Water, Earth and Air.
My name is Amparo Aguirre, I am an anthropologist, audiovisual producer, and artist. A little more than 10 years ago, I inherited from my grandmother Erni Stegmann, an original Italian deck of the Minchiate Al Leone Tarot from the 18th century, which belonged to the di Girolamo family for more than 300 years.
That is how I got to know this deck and began to investigate, and fall in love with the Minchiate Tarot.
I am currently finishing a book about the History of the Minchiate, the description of its 40 triumphs, the Fool, and the rules of the game in a bilingual Spanish/English version. I am also preparing the first edition of 250 numbered copies of a Minchiate Al Leone di Giroolamo reproduction, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.
The book and the deck reproduction will be ready in July 2022.
Learn to play Minchiate!
Download the Rules of the game here.
Rules of the Game