Maremma: Mosaics and Morellino.
Waking up in the majestic surroundings of lush Maremma, is the best of both worlds. A peaceful patch of Estruscan memory and medieval Borgo villages, not overdone, nor too touristic. In between the sea, ‘off the beaten track Tuscany’ and a mere 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Rome.
Maremma is the gem that brings you the magic of the Tarot Garden by Niki de Saint Phalle, a French sculptor, painter, and film maker who took inspiration from Matisse, Picasso and Gaudi. The Tarot Garden is Tuscany’s answer to Bomarzo or Gaudi’s Park Guell, and is a pop art bang of colour, made between 1979-2002. A mystical creation, only seen to be believed. A wondrous maze of 21 sculptures made from mosaics and ceramics, channelling the essence of the deck of the Tarot.
It’s as if you have jumped into the pages of a Disney book, and are trapped in an escalating dream of magic, colour and mosaic. Alice in Wonderland got blended up with the yellow brick road and then marinated with a teaspoon of Gaudi. The sense of originality and brave window into this artist’s world is mind blowing.
This garden was made with difficulties, love, wild enthusiasm, obsession, and most of all faith, quote, “Nothing could have stopped me”. The Empress card is represented in the form of a Sphinx like house in which Niki de Saint Phalle actually spent a few months living, with a diamante oven. The bathroom has a massive dinosaur sculpture! Talk about stepping into a fairy tale magi-go-round. The Gaudi influence is obvious, yet nothing like this jaw dropping giant jewelry box of a garden exists elsewhere. Well, maybe over the rainbow.
The fact that she lived within the confines of a mosaic cabin in the midst of her very own wonderland is brilliant, and the theme of magic and tarot means that there is a unique mood of both darkness and optimism at the same time. She said ‘’I am convinced that the Tarot cards have given me a key to better understanding my spiritual life and to dealing with life’s problems’’, and here body and mind are dissected for the viewers to experience, that has to be seen to be believed.
Bella Tuscan towns to visit on your to do list, would be Capalbio, Pittiligiano, Saturnia, Morellino, Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano, and The Natural Park of Tuscany. There is so much to see but the Maremma is a good place to start.
Why not get in the mood by booking a Maremma wine tour with Italy’s Best.