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SCULPTURE PARKS IN TUSCANY: Niki de Saint-Phalle's Tarot Garden

Etruscans, Romans, the Renaissance - Tuscany is chock-full of art and architecture, but where is all the recent and contemporary stuff? Niki de Saint-Phalle's Sculpture Park lies near Capalbio in the southernmost angle of Tuscany right on the border of Lazio (the region Rome belongs to). And finally all that way down one will encounter the 20th century thanks to the imagination and mastery of this French-American artist. Not only the children will love it! 

A sculpture of Niki de Saint-Phalle in Capalbio's historic town center
Bumtastic - Niki de Saint-Phalle in Capalbio

The Swiss artist Jean Tinguely contributed some of his famous machine sculptures to the park, and yes, the two of them had quite a love affair going on. Think about that one when you visit the fairy tale house Niki lived in (I still wonder whether all those mirrors were her or his idea).

Another Swiss contributor to the Tarot Garden is Mario Botta. The star architect from Southern Switzerland designed the beautiful entrance and museum shop of the sculpture park. More of Botta's design can be seen at the monumental Petra winery near Suvereto

Where: Capalbio (Siena 127km, Rome 135km). DON'T take the turn-off to CAPALBIO (and neither the one to GIARDINO beforehand), but stay on the Aurelia (the highway like road) till you get to signs for PESCIA FIORENTINA (NOT Pescia Romana which is already in Lazio). The Tarot garden is on the left side a couple of kilometers after the Aurelia turn-off. 
When: open daily from 1st of April to 15th of October. Full price €12, reduced rate €7, kids under 7 for free. 
The park is closed in the winter, but according to Niki de Saint-Phalle's wish opens for a free visit on each first Saturday of the month (from November to March only). 

A nice account of a visit to the Tarot garden (which ended in marriage) can be found on the Florentine Art Travel Blog Arttrav. Niki obviously knew what she was doing. 

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