A Visit to the Magical Studio of Il Meneghello, Milan

November 10, 2019 | Filed Under Tarot, Runes, Oracles | No Comments

My day job took me to Milan for yet another technical conference (I know, my life is so hard). Milan is not one of my favorite places in the world, but it does have one thing which no other city has—the magical studio and shop of Osvaldo Menegazzi, known as Il Meneghello.

Sign over door to entrance of Il Meneghello shop in Milan, Italy.

I snuck away from the conference on the last day, and arrived at the shop just after it opened in the morning. Reader, I cried. Yes, I did. Because I’d waited so many years to walk through this door, and, at, last I was doing so. The shop interior is amazing—shelves filled with all the wonderful decks Osvaldo has created over the years, and walls covered with his art.

Interior of Il Meneghello shop, showing art-covered walls.

Osvaldo was there, painting at his drawing table. He looked up and smiled as I entered; Cristina greeted me warmly. I introduced myself to her (we’ve exchanged a few emails over the years), and she remembered me!

I spent the best part of an hour (and the best hour!) browsing the decks and the art, as well as the other pieces Osvaldo creates—wonderful boxes for holding decks or other treasures.

I exercised a great deal of self-control (not easy!), and ended up with The Napoleonic Tarot (there was only one copy left, and Cristina kindly went to the basement to search for it), the Views and Trades of Milan by F. Gummpenberg, and the Gioco del Passatempo (a game deck, not a Tarot). I also bought a print of the Fox card from the Florentine Minchiate deck (a deck I already have!).

While Cristina was nicely wrapping my purchases to keep them safe during my homeward travels, I approached Osvaldo at his work table. He was adding a background wash to a print, and kindly allowed me to watch as he worked, telling me about the technique as he went. I can understand Italian pretty well when spoken to, although replying coherently is sometimes a challenge. I admired the work, and thanked him for all of the wonderful art he has created through the years. And, well, I started crying again, which he seemed to be both amused and touched by. He graciously posed for a photo with me.

Photo of Anastasia Haysler and Osvaldo Menegazzi at his work table.

My heart full to overflowing (as was my shopping bag), I thanked Osvaldo and Cristina, and headed to the sidewalk in front of the shop to wait for a cab to take me back to the conference and my responsibilities. Just before the cab arrived, Osvaldo came out of the shop, bearing a pen. He signed the box lid of the Tarocco Napeolonici!

Inside lid of the box, with Osvaldo's signature.

He also handed me a miniature card:

A miniature of the Empress card

and said, “Per lei, perché lei è l’imperatrice”, which means, “For you, because you are the Empress.” He kissed me on the cheek, and I swear I almost stopped breathing.

Just then, the cab arrived (entertainingly enough, the same driver who had brought me here from the hotel), and I fell into the cab, elated and overwhelmed, and waved to Osvaldo as the cab pulled away.

I don’t remember much of the conference that afternoon, because my mind was still in Il Meneghello’s magical shop. Somehow, it was evening, the conference was done, and that night I dreamed magical dreams of dancing cards in Osvaldo’s shop.

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