About The Tarocchino di Bologna (Giuseppe Maria Mitelli mini-tarot – circa 1660-1665)
This deck was created by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli (1634-1718), circa 1660-1665, and was originally printed in black and white, though several modern painted versions exist. This tarot deck was made for the Bentivoglio family, and the Ace of Cups bears their arms. The Ace of Coins has a portrait medallion with the artist's name.
This deck is unusual in that Mitelli wanted to express his own interpretation of the trump cards. The deck is a Bolognese Pattern tarochino, or mini-tarot, which was the popular style of tarot deck used in and around Bologna since the 15th century. The pip cards 2-5 are absent, as a number of historical tarot games did not require them. This means the deck has only 62 cards. The trump cards are ordered differently to a standard tarot deck and features the Traitor card instead of the Hanged Man. In the classic Bolognese pattern, the Papess/Empress/Emperor/Pope cards are substituted for a quartet of unnumbered cards of equal value known as The Four Popes. In the case of the Mitelli deck the cards depict Sitting Emperor, Standing Emperor, Sitting Pope, and Standing Pope.