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Keane: Barga Pop Tarot in Barga

inauguration of the Barga Pop Tarot paintings by Keane in the new Bistro at the Locanda di Mezzo in Barga Vecchia -- - - inaugurazione del Barga Pop Tarot dipinti da Keane nel nuovo Bistro presso la Locanda di Mezzo - Barga Vecchia

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Italy is still in the grip of a recession – a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters, for some time now and according to the official ISTAT figures, youth unemployment is now at a staggering 36.90 percent but not all is gloom and doom in this area.

There are still some younger Italians willing to start up a business and make a go of it.

Back in 2013 we spoke with Giulio Turriani about his project, La Galera in Fornaci di Barga (article here)  – a restaurant with beer and good live music. From that project was born the move to Piazza Annunziata, one of the first piazzas that visitors to Barga come across when coming into the city for the first time but was generally perceived as a kind of transit piazza as people move further into the city towards the larger piazzas of Piazza Angelio and Piazza Salvo Santi.

All that changed in 2014 with the opening of a new restaurant with Francesco Piacentini and Giulio Turriani at the helm situated under Palazzo Mordini – Locanda di Mezzo (full article here)

Now almost two years later, Giulio Turriani and his team (now comprising 5 members) are ready to expand their operations and have spent most of the winter building a French style bistrot under the expert guidance of the architect Massimiliano Lanciani in one of the cantinas below the Locanda.

As you can hear in the interview above with Giulio (in Italiano) they have now increased the possibility of seating another 15 customers in the newly furnished room – now called the Bistrò di Mezzo.


This Saturday at 6pm, the ribbon was be cut for the inauguration of the new Bistrò with the possibility to sample some of the great food being prepared in the Locanda and with music provided by the jazz singer Michela Lombardi, ably backed by the keyboards of Andrea Garibaldi and double bass of Nino Pellegrini.

To celebrate the opening of the new room, an installation was presented of recent work by Keane called “The Barga Pop Tarot Paintings” based around his exploration into the world of Tarot of Marseille cards restored by Philippe Camoin and Alexandre Jodorowsky (article here) and also Tarot card readings by Paola Marchi who has studied for many years the Tarot cards under Philippe Camion.

L’Italia è ancora nella morsa della recessione, un periodo di declino economico che, a quanto dice l’ISTAT ha portato a una percentuale di disoccupazione giovanile nel nostro paese pari al 36,90%. Un dato allarmante che si aggrava ancora di più se si considera che il dato ha tutto l’aspetto di essere ottimistico.

In questo panorama di decadenza assoluta, in cui ovunque siamo tartassati da cattive notizie che altro non fanno che peggiorare ulteriormente lo stato d’animo già gravemente compromesso degli italiani, poter dare una notizia buona diventa un privilegio e un dovere.
Siamo quindi orgogliosi di potere dire che a Barga, un piccolo borgo della Media Valle del Serchio, esiste una realtà che sta nascendo e da due anni si sta sviluppando, un esempio reale e concreto del fatto che la voglia di fare, unita all’entusiasmo e alla competenza, possono dar vita a nuovi progetti, frutto della collaborazione umana prima che professionale tra giovani onesti e lavoratori.

Già nel 2013 avevamo parlato con Giulio Turriani circa il suo bel progetto, La Galera a Fornaci di Barga (qui l’articolo ), un ristorante con birra e musica dal vivo di qualità.

Il progetto si è poi spostato da Fornaci di Barga al Centro Storico, precisamente in Piazza Annunziata. Una piazza che finora era solo di passaggio per i turisti finchè, nel 2014 Francesco Piacentini e Giulio Turriani vi hanno aperto un nuovo ristorante la Locanda di Mezzo (l’articolo qui: ).
Ora, dopo due anni, Giulio Turriani e il suo Team (che comprende ad oggi 5 membri) stanno espandendo la loro operazione. Prima tappa, l’apertura di una nuova sala in stile Bistrot francese, sotto la guida esperta dell’architetto Massimiliano Lanciani che si è anche occupato della fantastica illuminazione.

Questo sabato alle 18 ci sarà quindi l’inaugurazione della sala, con ufficiale taglio di nastro e per l’occasione si aprirà al pubblico anche l’esposizione dell’ultimo lavoro dell’artista Keane.

Si tratta dell’installazione (comprendente nove tele) “The Barga Pop Tarot Paintings”, basata sull’esplorazione del mondo dei Tarocchi di Marsiglia restaurati da Philippe Camoin e Alexandre Jodorowsky (qui l’articolo ). Per l’inaugurazione vi è anche la possibilità di fare esperienza diretta di questo strumento, il Tarot, sotto la guida di Paola Marchi che ha studiato nella scuola di Philippe Camoin.

Barga, in it’s heyday, was a stronghold of The Medici’s Florence. Against the often fiercely independent republic of Lucca, and the Dukes of Este, or ubiquitous Visconti, it was known as Barga Fiorentina

The city was also well known during the Middle Ages for the manufacture of silk threads which were exported to major centres such as Florence.

A recent article mentions Florentine silk dealers Lorenzo di Bartolo and Matteo di Zanobi, who in a side business also traded with playing cards between 1431-1460. Through the silk dealer records we know also about Florentine playing card suppliers, likely producing artists. Antonio di Dino, Antonio di Simone and Niccolo Calvello (who sold more than 3500 decks to the silk dealers) were the major suppliers till c. 1450-1456. source

So it was quite possible that during those times, 500 years ago, people were playing here in Barga with some the original Tarot or Trionfi packs of cards.

The Tarot Cards

The tarot first known as trionfi and later as tarocchi is a pack of playing cards (most commonly numbering 78), used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play a group of card games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. From the late 18th century until the present time the tarot has also found use by mystics and occultists for divination.

Italy is said to be the birthplace of the tarot, which according to playing-card historians was originally a card game invented in the fifteenth century and whose principal innovation was the introduction of trumps into Western European card-gaming.

The symbolism found on some early tarot cards has led many people to believe that tarot cards are in fact the expression of ancient streams of wisdom… the eternal, esoteric and holy tradition itself.

Following this belief, modern tarot packs draw upon the teachings of a tremendous range of traditions, including Kabbalah, Western esotericism and alchemy, Buddhism, Sufism, Egyptian initiations, mystical Christianity, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Celtic mythology… and so on.

The Tarot of Marseille restored by Philippe Camoin and Alexandre Jodorowsky

Founded in 1760 by Nicolas Conver who in the same year engraved his famous Tarot de Marseille, the Conver Factory in Marseilles, France became by marriage the Camion House.

Keeper of the Tarot of Marseilles tradition for more than two centuries, the Camoin House was forced by the industrial revolution to change the colours of the Tarot. After long research work, Philippe Camoin and Alexandre Jodorowsky rebuilt the colours and symbols of the Tarot. Some of them were incomplete or had already disappeared by the 18th century.

“Almost all of the Tarots in the world are copied on the pattern of the Tarot de Marseille”, observes Philippe Camoin, in the light of numerous irrefutable signs which he had gathered and uncovered in the course of his investigations of the Tarot de Marseille. The essential goal of this research was to rediscover the symbols, the purpose, and the primary meaning of this monument of Western culture, in a way that the language ws equally intelligible to our friends in the East. It is helpful to quote here H.P. Blavatsky: “The Tarot is the key to all of Western esotericism.”

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