Petrecino, page in Ferrara
composed by Lothar Teikemeier, last update 06.12.2012

Recorded first activity in Ferrara: 1447 (?)
Recorded last activity in Ferrrara: 1460
First Trionfi card context in Ferrara: 1457-08-02
Last recorded Trionfi card activity in Ferrara: 1458

Dates of Trionfi card activities

  • 1457-08-02 Ferrara - Gherardo da Vincenza delivers colors for Trionfi deck made by Petrecino
  • 1458 Ferrara - Gherardo da Vincenza delivers again colors for Trionfi deck made by Petrecino


Sources for Trionfi cards in Ferrara are mainly taken from our earlier collection at based mainly on the work of Gherardo Ortalli and Adriano Franceschini, expressed in the article of Ortalli "The Prince and the Playing Cards" (1996).

SOURCE 1: Petrecino - document of 1457

Quote from the earlier Trionfi notes collection of (2003-07): Document 16 [old counting] / Petrecino 1457. Naturally these older texts present not in all points my opinion of nowadays.
The new text here might contain some corrections against the earlier versions.

Document 17 [old counting]

In this entry Gerardo de Andrea da Vicenza is paid for colors, which were used by Petrecino, page of the Lord, to produce small Trionfi cards. Likely the entry is related to the visit of the 13-years-old Galeazzo Maria Sforza, who just in the current moment is as a honoured guest in Ferrara (compare document 16).
The activity reminds that, what happened at the 1.1.1441, 16 years before. Then Bianca Maria, Galeazzo Maria's mother, was the honoured guest in Ferrara and pictures of 14 figure were produced for a party at night (likely experimental playing cards; (compare document 16)). For this entry it seems, that now in August 1457 young Galeazzo Maria and the painting page Petrecino had some creative hous, which were filled with the production of a very personal playing card deck.

Petrecino, so it is known, later entered a cloister.

1457 [2 August – payment to Gerardo di Andrea da Vicenza for the costs of colours for Petrecino]

Maestro Girardo de Andrea da Vizenza dipinturo per los costo de tanti coluri li quali hano adoperato Petrecino pagio de lo Signore in avere dipinto uno paio de cartexele da trionfi per lo Signore ; domanda lire 3, et Galioto li tasa lire 1, soldi 10 ; se ne abate soldi 3, resta…………………………………L. 1. 7.

[Franceschini 1993 n. 823s (p. 486) ; cf. Ortalli 1996b:189 and note 70]

Preliminary translation
(by Ross Gregory Caldwell)

Maestro Gerardo di Andrea da Vicenza, painter, for the costs of such colours which Petrecino, page of the Lord, had used in having painted one pack of small triumph cards for the Lord; asking 3 lire, and Galeotto the tax 1 lire, 10 soldi; subtracting 3 soldi, leaving …….. L. 1. 7.

SOURCE 2: - document of 1458

Oktober 2012

During this updating process of our collection it occurred, that an information, earlier overlooked, appeared to the surface. Gherardo Ortalli had written in 1996 about documents with Petrecino in 1457 and 1458 in Ferrara, but we had only collected the one of 1457. Ortalli had pointed to Adolfo Venturi in 1885 in "L'arte a Ferrara nel periodo di Borso d'Este", "Rivista storica italiana" II, pp. 689-749 at page 731. Franco Pratesi was so friendly to look it up.

"Un altro pittore da aggiungere al novero de’ pittori di carte da gioco era un dilettante Petrecino da Firenze, paggio di Borso, che dopo il 1460 abbandonò la Corte per ritirarsi in un chiostro." (1)

(1) Nel 1457 e nel 1458 Gherardo da Vicenza gli vendette colori per dipinger carte da trionfi (V. Memoriale, T., 1457, a c. 67 e il libro d’Intrata et Spexa, E.E., 1458, a c. 97)

Franco Pratesi commented the situation: "Thus, we obtain from here only INDIRECT information on unknown numbers of trionfi packs. It is however mentioned that Petrecino acquired colours for painting triumphs BOTH in 1457 and 1458."

Repeated Note:

When Ross Caldwell and me in 2003 started to collect Trionfi notes between 1442-1463, we had about 27/28 entries (which I nowadays would count as 31). The major part were the documents of Ferrara, which were collected by Gherardo Ortalli and Adriano Franceschini in the "Prince and the Playing Cards" (1996), after the base laying works of Michael Dummett and Stuart Kaplan around 1980. This collection included 2 notes about Trionfi cards in Florence, found by Franco Pratesi in his earlier work (allowances of the Trionfi game in 1450 and 1463). A graphical representation of this time (with 27 entries) shows the dominance of Ferrarese documents (in black) with a few notes only from other locations (in red; see picture to the right)

In the period 2004 till October 2011 it was possible to add 4 further notes (Siena 1452, Padova 1455, Ancona c. 1460 and Valerio Marcello c. 1460), mainly thanks to information given by Thierry Depaulis.

Franco Pratesi started his new article series in November 2011. Since then the list has gotten 67 new documents till September 2012 (65 of them found by Franco Pratesi, one, now the oldest of September 1440, by Thierry Depaulis, and another one by Veber Gulinelli, who controlled the earlier work of Franceschini and found an overlooked document) and nearly all are related to Florence or its surrounding.

A small book (118 pages) was published around Christmas 2012, Franco Pratesi: "Playing Card Trade in 15th Century Florence" as IPCS Paper No. 7 (ISSN 0305-2133). It contains some of the articles, which before had appeared at this website, those, which treat the early time of 15th century. Thierry Depaulis commented in his foreword: "This book is a landmark in the history of early playing cards in Italy".

Well, maybe not the book, but the research is clearly a landmark in various interests. For the collection of early Trionfi notes it somehow means, that we have within the year 2012 about 200 % more data for the period 1440-1462 than mankind had collected in the 200 years before.

Added later:

In August 2013 the new report of Arnold und Doris Esch: "Aus der Frühgeschichte der Spielkarte. Der Import von carte da giocare und trionfi nach Rom." in Gutenberg Jahrbuch 2013, 88. Jahrgang, p. 41-53, arrived in our redaction. It contains 106 new references to Trionfi decks, which all were found in the customs registers of the city Rome for the period 1453-1465. With this the number of all earlier Trionfi cards records has been doubled and should have reached then c. 210 (from which a few are only considered to be "Trionfi card notes" and don't contain the word "Trionfi" or something similar).


I'd started to sort the new Trionfi card documents overview in October 2012. Articles will be possibly changed according improvements in research.

Old Overview about Trionfi Card documents in 2003

Overview about Trionfi Card documents in 2013


Persons in Trionfi Card Documents 1440-1462
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Trionfi Card Persons 1440-1462

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Ferrara: Artists and Card Producers (Trionfi cards)

Ferrara: Traders

Florence: Artists and Card Producers (Trionfi cards and mostly also playing cards)

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