Re: Olimpia Maidalchini

Marco, I wish I could read it in the original Italian, but luckily that's in the book too. And card playing is mentioned:

Page 294.
To win over Olimpia - whom Mazarin reckoned would always have influence over Innocent - Gremonville was instructed to lose money at her card parties. The ambassador of Lucca observed that on certain evenings the Pamphili palazzo on the Piazza Navona became a gambling den, "where run princes, high prelates and other sorts of nobility, each believing himself greatly fortunate to have rotten luck in this gaming, as losing could acquire the protection of this signora in their interests and cause her to affectionately and efficaciously advance their causes to His Holiness." 1

1: Vassalli, p. 87
and: p.295
It is amusing to picture the grandees of Rome and ambassadors of foreign powers racing to Olimpia's house intent upon losing vast sums to her at the seventeenth-century equivalent of poker.

I'm sure tarot historians have already looked at Vassalli for references to tarot, but I wonder what the author considers "...the seventeenth-century equivalent of poker."
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Olimpia Maidalchini

And simply for interest's sake, we have a hanged man.

Page 506.
Though Innocent was wracked with grief over the betrayal of Francesco Mascambruno, a man he had implicitly trusted, he hired two of Rome's best lawyers to defend him. After a trial lasting two months, with some eleven thousand pages of witness testimony, Francesco Mascambruno was sentenced to be hanged. Then his head would be cut off and stuck on a skewer, which would be placed on the Castel Sant'Angelo Bridge, along with his body, hanging by his left foot. After being exposed for several hours, both head and body would be burned, and the ashes tossed in the Tiber. 20
20: Ibid, p. 183 (Vassalli)

cont. p.509
For its journey to the Castel Sant'Angelo Bridge, the head was, oddly enough, "sewn onto the body from which blood trickled and the dogs licked it," a spectator observed. 22
22: Vassalli, p.185
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...