Italy is known for it’s distinctions between the North and the South. One of those differences is in the cards they use. In the north you’ll find the 52 card deck the very same that you find in America. The numbers go from 2 to 10 and then there’s the Jack (Fante), the Queen (Donna), the King (Re`) and the Ace (Asso). This deck used in Northern Italy also has the same four suits: clubs (fiori), diamonds (diamanti), spades (picche), and hearts (cuori).
The cards used in the South, sometimes referred to as the Neapolitan
cards (le carte napoletane) are the cards typically associated with
Italy and Italian card games, although many Northern Italians will go
their whole lives without ever using the Neapolitan deck. This deck has
different cards and different suits. The Asso, Fante and Re` are still
the same, but instead of a Queen/Donna card there is instead a
Knight/Cavallo card, usually holding the same value or rank as the Queen
does in the Northern deck. As this Neapolitan deck has only 40 cards
(not 52), the numbers only go up to seven in each of the four suits.
These suits are bastoni (sticks), denari (coins), spade (swords), and
For anyone familiar with Tarot cards, the same four suits from the
Neapolitan deck appear, they are just referred to a little differently
as wands, pentacles, swords and cups.
One of Italy’s most famous card games is Briscola. This game can be
played with either of the two decks (remove every 8, 9, and 10 from the
52 card deck if you go this route). The cards in this game rank, from
highest to lowest, Ace, Three, King, Queen/Cavallo, Jack, then Seven on
The Three in this game is the card to remember because it’s high
ranking it not in line with numerical nor traditional order, this is the Briscola card.
Come learn the rules of Briscola and try playing with both Italian decks at Sentieri Italiani!
The next Briscola event is Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 from 6 pm at Antica Pizzeria,
Meet at Antica Pizzeria *BYOB located at 5663 North Clark Street, Chicago. 773-944-1492
Food included with admission fee.
Please RSVP in person at Sentieri, payment in hand by July 8.
Or send check to: 5430 N. Broadway, Chicago, Il 60640