The Queen of Hearts | When Ali met Alexander

Published by Alison Cross on

Another sweltering hot Italian day. Another day where I whine pathetically about having a dodgy inner thermostat and bringing all the wrong clothes on holiday.  Honestly, Scottish people should really never go abroad…..

Our Merry Band of 31 souls hopped onto our coach, drove out of the baking piazzas of the gorgeous city of Bologna and up into the blue and hazy hills of Riola to visit the Tarot Museum.

The 400 year-old property that was once a shop has been magicked into a Tarot Museum by the hard work and arty touches of Ernesto Fazioli and Morena Poltronieri – two of our guides on our 14-day Tarot Tour.

The view from the Museum garden is breathtaking. My God, if I had those mountains to look at every morning, you would never find me on facebook again!

We had an action-packed afternoon ahead of us – not only were we going to meet and listen to some presentations by some of the inspiring artists and authors who had contributed towards decks published by the Museum, but also meet Tarot luminaries such as Andrea Vitelli, Giordano Berti and my own favourite, of course, Alexander Daniloff.

And there would be GENUINE home-cooked Italian food!!!

I was practically hyperventilating by the time we arrived (not just down to the heat and anticipation of the fab food!) but also nerves.  They say that you should never meet your heroes, right?

The place was soon buzzing with Italian and English chatter and photo opportunities abounded.  There was some wine. Of which I partook. Of course.

Our merry band of travelling Tarot dudes!

Me and Alexander
Those horizontal stripes are not helping me, are they?
The Mitsubishi cap, it’s not helping either, right?

I proudly handed out some of our rare TABI lapel pins.  I told the baffled recipients that I was the ‘Capo di TABI’.  See? Watching all those Godfather films HAS come in handy after all.  Although I don’t suppose I’ll ever have to do anything terribly interesting with a horse’s head. Stew perhaps πŸ˜€

Every nook and cranny of the Tarot Museum is crammed with Tarot art, decks and books.  Every place that your gaze alights there is something intriguing going on – little doors to be opened, piles of books to be rifled through!

Alexander Daniloff and his wife soon appeared and a fair old amount of hugging and kissing took place.  I presented him with a small glass for whisky (decorated with thistles) and also a small bottle of whisky (you cannot give a glass without whisky to put in it!) He looked happy and I was very glad that I had managed to smuggle the bottles through security at Heathrow (don’t ask, but I won’t be taking bottles of booze as presents anywhere abroad again!) **

At this point Alexander reached into his knapsack and produced the original artwork for his Tarot decks….. Yes, THE artwork for the very deck that I have droned on and on and on about for YONKS was in my sweaty little paw, AT LAST!

Just a handy size for stealing….. *looks innocent*

With shaking hands, I – and my new American friends, Jessica and Roz – poured over the images.  We had no Italian and Alexander had very little English, but fluttery ‘we love your work’ noises are the same in any language!  Ah, but sadly these paintings were not for sale!!!

Another folder deftly appeared and Alexander assured me that these images were for sale.  Ohmygollygosh.  My Euros started to burn a hole in my money belt……

Eventually I decided on the lady whose image is right at the top of this blog post, the Queen of Hearts.  She was about E80.   I started fiddling about in my money belt and Mrs Daniloff and Alexander both mentioned the word ‘regalo’.  Regalo?! My Duolingo app had only got as far as: Dov’e la stazione? Dov’e la ristorante? Due Birre etc

Gorgeous Andrea, our coach driver, was drafted in to clarify – a regalo is a gift.

‘Does Alexander really mean a discount?’ I venture, not wishing to embarrass myself or the Daniloffs.  ‘It’s a gift,’ confirmed Andrea.

Yes, a GIFT!

Well, there were TEARS, dear Reader.  What a kind and generous gesture – something that I can never hope to repay!

There was even more hugging.  There was a LOT of kissing.  More snottering into my sleeves from me.

Yes, you absolutely SHOULD meet your heroes!

We are standing on a slope!!

Could the day get any better? Indeed it could!!

Stand by for another update that involves Giordano Berti (more kissing!) and a fantastic Tarot artist called Carmen Sorrenti!

** The embarrassment of having to ask esteemed author Caitlin Matthews whether she’d help me drink a couple of the small bottles of whisky rather than leave them behind in Heathrow Security will have my cheeks burning with shame for months! To her eternal credit though, she said that she was up for it if necessary.  It was 6.30am.  That woman is GAME!

Alison Cross

The Tarot's Court Cards are my specialist area.Β  They talk to me. Not LITERALLY though ....


The Moonstone · 20th May 2015 at 1:21 pm


    Alison Cross · 20th May 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I'm still stoked about this and I've been home nearly a month πŸ˜€

Ania · 13th May 2015 at 11:42 am

How utterly sweet of him πŸ™‚

    Alison Cross · 15th May 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Wasn't it? I would have been happy with a discount …. but even more thrilled to receive a painting as a gift πŸ™‚

Vivianne · 12th May 2015 at 6:25 pm

Have you found a good frame for your wonderful original ? πŸ™‚

    Alison Cross · 15th May 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Currently in getting framed even as we speak πŸ˜€

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