Andrea Vitali's Historical Essays on the Tarot

Triumphs, Trionfini and Trionfetti

Between Game and Literature


Translation revised by Michael S. Howard, Feb. 2012


Before entering into the heart of the matter, in order to avoid misunderstandings, it is appropriate to make a clarification about the game of Triumphs.

In the fifteenth century the word Triumphi (Triumphs) came to designate the game made of the 22 allegorical cards (1) in combination with 56 court and numerals cards, for a total of 78 cards.

This game, from the end of the fifteenth through the following centuries, no longer came to be called Ludus Triumphorum but Ludus Tarochorum, that is, the game of tarot.  Meanwhile to designate the Triumph cards alone, men of letters adopted terms like Triumphi de’ Tarrochi (Giulio Cesare Croce) or just the term Trionfi (Notturno Napolitano) or Triumphi, while for the players they were the cards that triumphed- that’s why they called them Trionfi - as they had more power than the numeral and court cards. 

At the same time, still from the end of the XV century, with the term Ludus Triumphorum or Ludus ad Triumphos as well as Trionfini or Trionfetti (these last two characterized by rules perhaps different from those of the Ludus ad Triumphos), that game came to be defined in which people used only the regular cards. In this game,  the term Trionfi - a name obviously pre-existing from the 22 allegorical tarot cards with  superior power  - was used to designate the cards belonging to the trump suit. This suit was determined by unveiling one card taken from the deck before the start of the hand [partita]. This is the description given by Pietro Sella in his Nomi Latini di Giuochi negli Statuti Italiani - sec. XIII-XVI (Latin Names of Games in the Italian Statutes - XIIIth - XVIth centuries): Item Ludus ad Triumphos, Triumphorum: "Card game according to the color of the card, called Triumph, which was uncovered at the beginning of the hand" (2). The same author asserted that other games were called Triumphs, like the Ludus ad Trapollinus "Chartas to ludendum triumphos aut ... sive trapollinos. Reggio, 1501, III, 173. Game of cards called Trapolino”.

In practice, from the end of the XV century,  the name Trionfo came to mean the game with a designated trump suit. In Volume VII of the Dizionario della Lingua Italiana (Dictionary of Italian Language) of 1830 (3) under the word Trionfo is written: “Trionfo, in the Ombre Game, is the suit so named by the players", while in the second volume of the Dizionario Piemontese Italiano, Latino, Francese (Dictionary of Piedmont Italian, Latin, French), of the same period as the previous (4), we find: "Trionf:  kind of card game, trionfini, trionfetti, chartularum lusus, jeu de Triomphe" and also "Trionf: in certain games of cards it is the color of the card that remains after the required number of cards have been distributed to the gamblers, or also, the suit of the cards that must prevail over the others". In the work Thesaurus Proverbiorum Italico-Bergamascorum rarissimorum et garbatissimorum by Bartolommeo Bolla, published in Frankfurt in 1605, among the many proverbs and sayings, there is also the expression ludere triumpho bastonadarum translated by the author with "Gioccar a Triumphi  di bastoni" (Play at Triumphs of Batons).

The distinction between the game of Tarot and that of Triumphs is well highlighted in the Capitolo del Gioco della Primiera (Chapter of the Game of Primiero) by Francesco Berni, where he writes “…viso proprio di tarocco colui a chi piace questo gioco, che altro non vuol dir Tarocco che ignocco, sciocco, balocco degno di star fra fornari et calzolai et plebei a giocarsi in tutto di un Carlino in quanto a tarocchi, o a trionfi, o a Smischiate che si sia...  (…the proper face of tarot that of one who is pleased by this game, that nothing can be said of Tarot other than ignorant, foolish, a plaything among bakers and shoemakers and low people to gamble everything from a Carlino to however much in tarot, or triumphs, or Smischiate). Girolamo Cardano in his Liber de Ludo Aleae (Chapter XXV - De ludis chartarum) written in 1526, cites, along with many other games, that of Triumphs [Trionfi], that of Tarot [Tarocchi], and that of of Triumfeti (Triumphi, Triumfeti, Sequentiae, sequentinum Tarochi, etc), from which we can deduce that the latter could be a game with different rules than that of Triumphs [Trionfi], which is the subject of the present discussion.

It seems that the rules of this game of triumphs, called Triumpho Hispanico à Trionfetto (5), as expressed by its name, had been imported from Spain. On the Spanish Triumphs the famous Spanish humanist Juan Maldonado (Erasmus’s friend) wrote in Latin in 1541, revised in 1549, a dissertation entitled Ludus Chartarum Triumphus (6), composed under the influence of an educational text on playing cards by Juan Luis Vives (a friend of Erasmus) and dedicated to the young prince Carlos, entitled Ludus Chartarum seu Foliorum (1538 ?) (7). Moldonado describes the game and its rules through a dialogue between different players whose names are  Maldonatus, Ferranus, Rosarius, Padronus,  and Asturianus.

During the XVI century, the games of Tarot and Triumphs were not included in the list of games of gambling because they were considered games of skill. The Statutes of Crema of 1534 (n. 89) affirm in fact that “Quilibet possit ludere ad tabula set schacos et triumphos et tarochum de die et de nocte". However, with the passing of time, both games ended up by being condemned for many crimes that everywhere were committed around the gaming tables. The attraction of the tireless players to the game of trionfini was such that they were not able to renounce it completely, sometimes with dire consequences. In this regard there are several examples. In three different Venetian archival documents, dating 1732, 1753 and 1768, we find:

“The bitterness of being unsuccessful made Girolamo Berta even lose his logic, said Marsion, fishmonger; the which, on December 19, 1732, having lost at Trionfetti and Zecchinetta in Magazen S. Moses, 4 Lire -  like Fassetta [name of a character involved in a similar situation that the author always put in his work] - suddenly rises from the table, knocks away with contempt the money placed on the table, punches his opponent, called Chiodo. When he [Chiodo] silently bends to take the fallen coins, Berta kills him with two stabs. But to the player it was not enough to dirty his hands with blood for a few coins. The desire to tempt fate again was so strong that, heedless of his freedom, he returned to the gambling house soon after" (8).

"On December 22, 1753, Panuti loses, in Magazen to St. Joachim, a challenge at trionfetti: not having the money to pay, he asks Anzolo Grinta  for 30 scudi, and as he refused, Panuti stabs him and injures a player sitting near Grinta. Panuti was banned for 7 years" (9).

"Even the police attended the gambling house, and, among many, we can recall one Domenico Vasan,  Gazan d. Padoan and. d. Becca, who became involved in a serious brawl originating from a game of Triumphs" (10).

The Literature

The game of Trionfini or Trionfetti come to be mentioned in several literary texts  from the beginning of the sixteenth century (11).

We find it in the Talanta comedy, Scene XVI by Pietro Aretino (12): "Talanta: It is well known that I do not make friends with old men for the fun of playing with them at Trionfetti, nor so as to burst from laughing at the miracles of which they speak, nor for the sweat that bathes their face when I ask them for a service, but to enhance my value by the reputation they give me, since for one such as I it is a beautiful thing, when they say, Messer this and Messer that are courting her".

In scene XIII, where Aretino describes the encounter of Talanta with the parasite Branca and the Captain Tinca, among the attributes which the latter, hopelessly in love with Talanta, addresses to her, along with "helmet of my head, armor of my back, legging of my shins, harness of my steed, pendant of my medals", we also find "chariot of my triumph”, because he considered Talanta the object who motivated or rather 'conducted' him to search for situations to conquer. Although this speech is not in the context of the game then called “Triumphs”, but the same Renaissance game, called “ludus tarochorum” in the period in which Aretino composed this comedy, it appears of some importance when one considers that the meaning of that card would be carrus triumphalis, i.e. the pursuit of personal triumph and victory, of which the chariot becomes an allegorical tool meaning not only “movement toward”, but also a "motivational push" .

Michael S. Howard informs us that in Aretino’s The Speaking Cards (1534), which we have discussed in the essays Symbolic Suites and The Theater of Brains, the game of Trionfetti is mentioned in two distinct passages.

Speaking about the loss of money that the card game entails, the cards themselves, in discussion with the dealer Padovano, the Paduan - their interlocutor - express themselves thusly: “Carte: L’ Ostinazione fù sempre il conflitto degli animi ostinati. Pur noi alle fiate, per un certo non sappiamo che, non solo permettiamo, che un perda una gran somma di pecunia, dilettandoci nella buffoneria, con la quale ci ricrea, il vederlo poi giocare a i trionfetti, quel tanto di vincita, che gli da colui, ché gli beccò sù gli scudi; ma consentiamo, che una così sciagurata quantità di piccioli, ritorni in una voga, che gli fa rivincere i contanti à doppio” (Cards: Obstinacy was always the conflict of obstinate minds. Also we often, for some reason we don’t know, not only permit a player to lose a large sum of money, finding delight in his amusing buffoonery, so as to see him play at Trionfetti so much as to win back the money (scudi) he’d lost to the other, but we allow such a unfortunate quantity of small coins (piccioli) to be returned to him in one shot, that he wins back double the cash) (13).

The second passage tells a story that happened to a somewhat superficial young man who, while traveling to Loreto to fulfill one of his vows, was approached by a cheat (a Baratto) who won all his money at Trionfetti and Condannata   (14).

This is the passage: "Carte:....La conclusione fu, che da i trionfetti da beffe, si venne alla condennata da senno, e dalle, e percuote, il dì lungo gli parve un attimo: ….." La satira dell’Aretino è qui implacabile: invertendo le qualità dei due giochi, l’autore definisce “da beffe” un gioco che in realtà necessitava di qualche ragionamento, ma che nella storia raccontata diveniva beffardo in quanto il baro governava il gioco, mentre quello della Condannata, che abbisognava di sola fortuna, essendo uno dei più terribili giochi d’azzardo, viene chiamato ironicamente “da senno”, cioè che implicava ragionamento. Un ragionamento che il giovane avrebbe dovuto attuare, negandosi di giocarlo, tant’è che con quel gioco venne condannato definitivamente alla sconfitta (Cards: .... The conclusion was that from Trionfetti ‘involving mockery’ he went to Condannata [Condemned] ‘involving reason’, and with that, in the bustle of his obsessive activity, the long day seemed to him a moment: ....." (15). Here Aretino’s satire is relentless: reversing the quality of the two games, the author calls "involving mockery" a game that really needed some reasoning, but which in the narrated story became ironic because the game was controlled by a cheater, while the game of Condannata (16), which needed only luck, being one of the worst gambling games, is ironically called "involving reason’ i.e. that it implied reasoning. Reasoning that the young man would have had to implement by refusing to play it, since with that game he was finally condemned to defeat.

That the game of Trionfetti required certain intellectual and imaginative capacities, prerogatives by which initially it wasn’t included among the gambling games, is documented by several authors, including the Spanish physician and philosopher Giovanni Huarte (1530? -1591?) who in one of his works on the intelligence of men, expressed himself on that game and Primero this way: “Il saper giuocare a primiera, & fare inviti falsi, & veri: & il tenerla, & non tenerla, quando è tempo: & per congetture conoscere il punto del suo contrario, & il sapere scartare: sono tutte opere della imaginativa. Il medesimo diciamo del giuoco del cento, & de i trionfetti: benche non tanto, quanto la primiera di Alemagna: & non solamente fa prova, & dimostratione della differenza dell'ingegno: ma scopre anchora tutte le virtù, & vitij dell’huomo. Perche ad ogni momento s'offeriscono in questo giuoco occasioni, nelle quali l'huomo scopre quel, ch'egli farebbe anchora in altre cose di maggiore importanza, quando vi si trovasse” (Being able to play at primero, and to do false and true invitations [ i.e. bluffing and not bluffing]: and keep or not keep it [i.e. play the hand or not], when it is the right time: and for conjectures to know the points of the opponent, and to know when to discard: all these are works of imagination. We say the same for the games of ‘one hundred’ (cento), and Trionfetti: although not as much as for German primero; and it not only proves and demonstrates differences in skill: but also discovers all the virtues and vices of man. Because at every moment this game offers occasions in which a man discovers that which he would do in other things of greater importance, if he so found himself) (17).

M. A. Buonarroti the Younger (18) mentions the game of Trionfini’ in the comedy Le Mascherate (The Masquerades), where a butler tells what happened between gentlemen and ladies around a table. After this dialogue follows the "Chorus of Circumstances" on Fortune.

Act II - Scene VI

Coro di Dame e di Cavalieri: più Staffieri, e Coppiere e più Servitori

Coppiere. Avvenne ch' in giucando a' trionfini
A rubar, la signora
Sofronia (par a me) della Sannella,
Con la signora Vinciguerra Ardinghi,
E con due cavalier, nel dar le carte
Nacque confusïone, onde amendue,
L'Ardinghi e la Sannella,
Preteser ch' una carta (io credo un asso,
Credo quel de' bastoni)
Fussi dovuto a sè, donde le grida
E le rampogne, e'l berghinelleggiare 
Nacque in poche parole; e d' altra parto
Facendo a'goffi il signor Agatone,
Che queste dame usan chiamar Gattone,
Col signor Diodor, nacque contesa
In materia di segni più o meno,
Perchè quel primo si fusse avanzato .
Segnando al debitor più un fagiuolo.
Ci si fece si fatta fagiolata,  
Che la Regina v'ebbe a impor silenzio,
E comandò fermarsi tutti i giuochi
Fino a nuovo suo ordine, e commise
Esser immantinente ivi portato
Da bere e colizione.

Chorus of Ladies and Gentlemen: also Liveried servants, also Torque and his Valet 


Butler: It happened that while Lady Sophronia da Sannella (it seems to me that she cheated in dealing the cards) was playing Trionfini with Lady Vinciguerra Ardinghi and two gentlemen, confusion arose, and both of them, Ardinghi and Sannella, insisted that a card (I think an ace, that of Batons) was theirs, whence, in short, shouts, rebukes, and much empty talk arose; and on the other side, Lord Agathon, whom these ladies used to call Gattone (i.e Big Cat), clumsily began a discussion with Lord Diodor on the matter of the signs, more or less, why the ace was advanced, signaling to the debtor more a bean. They made a long and insipid discourse, until the Queen imposed silence and ordered  them to stop all games by her new order, and then she ordered that things to drink and to eat be immediately brought.


Coro dei Circostanti al Giulè gia fornito

Un ampissimo il mondo è tavolino,
     Evvi ognun giucatore,
     E fra speme e timore
     La fortuna a ognun fa capolino:
     Ch'ell'è dentro, ch'ell'è fuore,
     Ch'or t' alletta or ti s'invola
     La Fortuna mariòla.

Gioco, amor, mercatura, onori e corte,
     Entrici anche la guerra,
     Il mar dirò, la terra,
     Scherzo son vicendevol della sorte: 
     Ch' or t'innalza, or ti sotterra,
     Ch’ or t'alletta, or ti s'invola
     La Fortuna mariòla.

Non la stimi o l'apprezzi uom che l'apprezza,
     Uom che in altri la stima
     Stia lesto in su la scrima
     A' suoi calci, e le dia poca cavezza
     E la domi ben prima;
     Poi lasci ir, se gli s'invola,
     La Fortuna mariòla.

Brindis, signore, brindis, bere, bere,
     Tutt' altro è vanità.
     La mia fortuna sta
     Il fondo discoprir d'un gran bicchiere:
     E se fresco ei giù ne va,
     Vo'sommergermivi'n gola
     La Fortuna Mariòla.

Chorus of Circumstances concerning the card game already provided 

The world is a big table, each player lives around it, and between hope and fear, Fortune peeps out at everyone. Now it’s close, now it’s far, now she tempts you, now she flees you, spiteful Fortune.

Game, love, business, honors and the court, add also war, sea and land,  all are a a mutual joke of fate;  now she raises you,  now she sinks you, now she tempts you, now she flees you, spiteful Fortune.

You don't esteem her or appreciate her, the man who appreciates her, the man who esteems her otherwise must be ready to fight and kick her, and give her little halter, and then if she flees, let her go, spiteful Fortune.

Drink a toast, sir, drink a toast, drink, drink, everything else is vain, my fortune is to find the bottom of a large glass: and if it goes down cool, my throat is filled, spiteful Fortune.

About Fortune, it should be noted that the term Bazza, which means "good fortune", comes from the games of Trionfini and Tarot. We are informed in the work Le origini della lingua Italiana compilata dal Signor Egidio Menagio Gentiluomo Francese, Colla Giunta de’ Modi di dire Italiani, raccolti e dichiarati dal medesimo (The Origins of the Italian Language compiled by Mr. Egidio Menago French gentleman, with the addition of Italian idioms, collected and reported by the same), printed in Geneva in 1685 (19) under item Ba: “Bazza: Good fortune. Metaphor derived from the card games of Trionfini and Tarot, when one takes a card without a triumph. And when it is not taken, either with or without a triumph,  it is Bazza. Lat. De lucro est” (pag. 96).

On the other hand, Hazer Baza is an expression in the card game Triumpho Hispanico. It is recalled in the work Dialogos Apazibles, compuestos en Castellano, y traduzidos en Toscano (Pleasant Dialogues, composed in Castilian and translated into the Tuscan language), written by Lorenzo Franciosini, professor of Tuscan and Castilian language in Siena , part of his Gramatica Spagnuola ed Italiana (Spanish and Italian Grammar) published in Venice in 1742. In the Fourth Dialogue between two friends, one called Mora, the other Aghilure, a coach driver and a "hostess", we find the following explanation:

“P. Es verdàd, que mucca vezes le quíse desàr por ésto, y se lo dezía, che no quería mas caminàr con el, porquè era tocádo de mí propria enfermedad; y no me dexáva  hazer bàza.

P. Così è, che molte volte lo volsi lasciar per questo, e glielo dicevo, che non volev’andar più con lui, perché pativa del mio stesso male, e non mi lasciava far una mano.

(It’s so, that many times I wanted to leave him because of this, and I told him that Ididn’t want to go with him any more, because he suffered from my own illness and he did not let me play a hand [hazer baza]). 

Hazer Baza:  si dice qui metaforicamente per vincer nel giuoco da noi chiamato i trionfini: ed inferisce, che colui parlava tanto, che questo Vetturino, non potev’anch’esso dir la sua”

(Metaphorically, Hazer baza here means to win in the game we call Trionfini: the explanation was that he spoke so much, so this driver couldn’t say his own opinion)".

Antonfrancesco Grazzini, called Lasca (1503-1584) was a poet and playwright. Allergic to Latin and Greek,  he wrote in the style of Boccaccio and Berni, as a successor to the Florentine popular tradition that found its highest expression in playful literature. After founding in 1540 the “Accademia degli Umidi” (Academy of the Humid) in order to safeguard the purity of the Italian language, he founded in 1582, together with Leonardo Salviati, the “Accademia della Crusca” (Academy of Bran). Among his collection of Rimes what stands out for our interest is In lode della Rovescina (In praise of the Rovescina), written between 1540 and 1546,  a card game (20) of which the author makes a hagiographic exaltation at the expense of other games, including that of triumphs, which is considered cheap and suitable for commoners, like the games of tarot and minchiate, called “da omaccioni” (for big men),  because it is annoying to take in one's hand a such a considerable number of cards” (21). 

La Ronfa è da fornari e da tintori;
     Ma per rovescio poi la Rovescina,
     E' da Principi giuoco, e da Signori.
Cricca e Primiera non sè l' avvicina,
     Trionfini, Noviera, e Tre du' asso,
     Che son giuochi plebei e da dozzina.
Cogli altri delle carte io me la passo:
     Pur Germini e Tarocchi agli omaccioni
     Danno qualche piacere e qualche spasso;
Ma a chi 'l fa volentieri, il ciel perdoni;
     Che tante carte in man vengono a noja:
     E fansi capi poi come cestoni.

Ronfa is for bakers and dyers, but upside down [rovescio]  Rovescina is a game for Princes and Lords. Cricca and Primero, Trionfini, Noviera and Tre du’asso can’t compete with Rovescina, because they are cheap and plebeian games. I avoid the other games: Germini and Tarot give some pleasure and fun only to the big men, but Heaven pardons those who choose them, for so many cards in their hands is annoying, and then makes their heads like wastebaskets.

In the Li Sbarbati comedy (The Shaved) by Giovan Maria Cecchi (22) we find a reference to the game of the Trionfini where the author has a character say the phrase “Doveva aver giocato a’ trionfini, ed era trionfato per lui coppe, e per voi bastoni, e voi lo vorreste in danari” (He must have played at Trionfini, and cups was victorious for him, and batons for you, but you would prefer it in coins).

Thomaso Garzoni da Bagnacavallo (23), in the “Capitolo De’ Giocatori in Universale, et in particolare” (Chapter on Players in General and in particular) Discourse LXX of his La Piazza Universale di tutte le professioni del mondo (The Universal Plaza of all the professions of the World), printed in Venice in 1583, offers us a broad overview of card games of the Renaissance, and among these the game of Trionfetti: «Some others are tavern games, like “mora”, tiles (piastrelle), keys (chiavi),  and cards, common or tarot (the latter are a new invention according to Volterrano) where you see coins, cups, swords, batons, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, the Ace, the King, the Queen, the Knight, the Page [il Fante], the World, Justice, the Angel, the Sun, the Moon, the Star, the fire [il fuoco], the Devil, Death, the hanged man [l’impicato], the Old Man, the Wheel, Fortitude, Love, the Chariot, Temperance, the Pope, the Popess [la Papessa], the Emperor, the Empress, the Small Magician [Bagatella], the Fool [Matto]. And with the elegant cards of hearts, flowers,  and pikes [le picche]; where you can play at tarot, at primero,  at “gilè col bresciano bruscando una da quaranta almeno per volta”, (vest with Breschian getting at least one from forty each time), at trionfetti, at trappola, at flusso...». 

Traiano Boccalini
(1556-1613) is famous for having composed the work De' Ragguagli di Parnaso  (On Details of Parnassus), a satirical work on Italian politics of the time. The work is divided into three "Centurias"; the First was published in 1612, the Second the following year, while the Third appeared posthumously in 1615 under the title Pietra di Paragone Politico (Political Yardstick). The Ragguagli are intended as statements that describe events, discussions, and also processes that occur on Mount Parnassus, where, in addition to Apollo and the Muses as rulers, lives a large group of very popular politicians of the time. Debating on ideas and men, both past and present, the author presents a critique but is resigned to the unattainability of any form of substantial change, a resignation that leads him to choose, on many occasions, the lesser evil. It is important to remember that Avviso77 (Notice 77) of the Ragguagli, in its Latin translation, became an integral part of the Manifesto of the Society of Rosicrucians (Fama Fraternitatis).

Our attention is drawn to Ragguaglio II of the first Centuria, where a scribbler and card player is described, who is first imprisoned for having composed verses without art, then released and even appointed as teacher of the game of Trionfetti. As students, the bad poet will  have real writers and philosophers, all engaged in learning, in a special gymnasium built for the occasion, the rules of the game that Apollo himself ended up considering excellent science, more important than philosophy, poetry, astrology and mathematics. Forcing his scholars to think the same, the result is a not indifferent satire on court life, where the real interest is forcibly replaced by the ephemeral and insignificant need to learn one of the greatest secrets, that is “che ogni cartaccia di Trionfo piglia tutte le più belle figure”" (each worthless card of Triumphs beats all the most beautiful figures).

First Centuria - Detail II

The ordinary Guard of the Territory of Parnassus, having captured a bad poet banned from Parnassus under penalty of death, find in his socks a playing card deck, and once Apollo sees them, orders the game of Trionfetto to be taught in the public schools.

So that rude people do not profane the virtuous places of Parnassus with their dirty minds, for many years  already Apollo has imported from Sicily two companies of Poets, fablers and comedians, brave and talented experts in rhyme; whose job is always to travel the country and keep the area clean of mediocrity. These people, eight days ago, imprisoned a bad poet, banned from Parnassus, who, in spite of being forbidden to read and write, in spite of Apollo, and in contempt of the serene Muses, still continued all day to dirty papers with verses, so as to claim the sovereign name of Poet. Aggravating his demerit, the Cops [Sbirri, also meaning "pigs"] who were trying to catch him found a deck of playing cards in his stockings. Those cards, being mere vice, carry with them the death penalty. They were immediately delivered to Apollo who was extremely surprised at the evil invention that the vicious had been able to discover, to throw their time away, to consume their reputation and mental faculties.

But the amazement of His Majesty was too much, when he understood that the folly of men had gone so far as to call a game that thing for which people so cruelly run into debt, and that for pleasure, amusement and recreation compromise the money that is acquired with so much sweat, which is useful for so many things that without it the modern world  would consider  Aristotle as ignorant and Alexander the Great plebian. Apollo asked him what kind of card game, out of all of them, was most familiar to him, and because he said Trionfetto, Apollo commanded him to play it, and he immediately obeyed. As soon as His Majesty understood the dark magisterium of such game, he said that the game of Trionfetto was the true philosophy of the courtiers, the much-needed science, which all men had to learn if they did not want to live foolishly.


Showing that he was very sorry for the insult that had been done to that man, first, he honored him with the title of virtuoso, and then, having had him untied, commanded the janitors to open, the morning after, a particular grammar school, where with the salary of five hundred crowns a year, this remarkable man, for everyone’s benefit, should teach the very attractive game of  Trionfetto, and under threat of very severe penalties imposed on Platonists, Peripatetics and all moral philosophers, and all the other virtuosi of Parnassus, that they must learn this necessary science, the which, in order that it not escape their memory, they were obliged to exercise themselves with the game an hour a day.


To the literati it seemed very strange that so vile a cop [Sbirri, also meaning "filthy"] game could be so useful to get information for men's life, but all nevertheless knew that His Majesty never commanded anything that brought no fruit to his great virtuosi, so they willingly obeyed, so that the school of that game was very popular. But as soon as the literati discovered the dark magisterium, the hidden secrets and the admirable tricks of the  most excellent game of Trionfetto, they praised the high evaluation of His Majesty up to the eighth heaven, celebrating and magnifying in every place that neither Philosophy nor Poetics nor Mathematics nor Astrology nor the other most prestigious sciences were able to teach the most important secrets, but only the admirable game of Trionfetto, and especially to those who transacted business at the courts, it taught the most imortant secret, that is, ”that any worthless Triumph card takes all the most beautiful figures”.


The works of Giovan Battista Lalli (1572 - 1637) much interested the adolescent Leopardi, perhaps because they had the same fate in health. Lalli, who was constantly afflicted by illness, devoted himself to writing burlesque and happy poetry to find relief from his diseases (delectando monet). His masterpiece is La Moscheide (The Fly War) printed in Milan in 1630 (24) which tells of a war between the flies and the emperor Domitian, who, according to many historians, was a tireless hunter of insects. In addition to Franceide, (The French War) (25) - in which the Gallic disease is investigated as a hilarious reenactment of the famous challenge of Barletta - to Gerusalemme Desolata (Desolated Jerusalem) and a large number of letters, poems and sonnets, his other famous work is the Eneide Travestita (Aeneid in Disguise), printed in Rome in 1633, a work of an irreverent nature on the epic greatness of Virgil’s poem. From the version of the Aeneid printed in Florence in 1822, we report what is written about Lalli’s life and work.

About Giovanni Battista Lalli

He was born in Norcia in 1572. He cultivated the weightiest studies, above all that of the Law. He was given assignments in various Governments by the Courts of Parma and Rome. Thanks to these, Lalli received much appreciation for his knowledge and for the love in his sweet manners. Then he retired to his homeland, where he died in 1637. The serious poems which he composed, such as his poem on the destruction of Jerusalem, placed him among the famous poets of that century. But he had been given a natural disposition for playful poetry, as we can see in his Epistole Giocose (Playful letters) and his burlesque poems: the Moscheide and Franceide. He reduced in burlesque style some rhymes of Petrarch. But in my opinion he secured his literary immortality with the Eneide Travestita. He had both a playful imagination and facility as a versifier, which is mainly required in this case, but his phrasing is not always cultured. It is good that a rare book has been reproduced. Crescimbeni, Quadrio, Eritreo and Tiraboschi speak about him. 

In Octave 52, 53 and 54 of the Eneide Travestita, treating the fate of Italy, the author makes a reference to playing cards, including Bazzica and Trionfetto.


First Book

Ottava 52

Ma per mostrare a te la ronfa intiera
Di quanto i fati nostri han stabilito;
Enea sarà in Italia; e grande e fiera
Avrà una guerra, e sosterralla ardito.
Gli converrà domar gente guerriera:
Vi fonderà città, stato infinito
E potrà, posti i Rutoli in fracasso,
Tre anni, a guanti in man, starsene a spasso.

Octave 52

To show you the full story that our destinies have established, Enea will be in Italy, and will have a great and proud war, and will support it boldly. He will agree to subdue warlike people: he will build cities, an infinite state and after defeating Rutuli in a fracas, glove in hand, he keeps walking for three years.

Ottava 53

Sarà suo successore il giovinetto
Ascanio suo, che Iulo oggi è nomato:
E che primieramente Ilo fu detto,
Finchè Ilio cadde, e fu perduto il piato.
Giuocherà sempre in Alba a trionfetto,
Finchè il trentesimo anno fia spirato;
Ove farò d' Ettorre i figli illustri
Sguazzar, signoreggiar sessanta lustri.

Octave 53

His son Ascanius will be his successor, now named Iulus and previously called Ilo, until Troy fell down, and the contest was lost. He always will play in Alba at Trionfetti, until he has completed his thirtieth year: when I will make the illustrious sons of Hector wallow, and rule for sixty lustres.

Ottava 54

Ilia poi ne verrà, la cui bellezza
Piacerà in sommo al furibondo Marte;
A bazzica faranno, e male avvezza,
Ella andrà sotto al giuoco delle carte.
Di lui sia pregna in somma, e con salvezza
Verrà di partorire a imparar l' arte;
E produrrà, se ben non senza duolo,
Due garbati bambocci a un parto solo.

Octave 54.

Then Ilia will came, whose beauty will appeal extremely to furious Mars; they will play at bazzica and badly advised, she’ll lose at the game of cards. She will be extremely pregnant by Mars and will learn the art of giving birth and produce, although with pain, two beautiful children in one delivery.

In the pasquinade of the writer Gregorio Leti (1630-1701), entitled L’Europa Gelosa, Overo La Gelosia De’ Principati Dell’Europa (Jealous Europe, or the Jealousy of the European Principalities (26), at the “Conferenza dell’Arciduca Carlo Iseppe d’Austra col Cardinal Sacchetti seguita in Parnasso li 10 aprile 1664 nella Presenza d’Apollo” (Conference of the Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria with Cardinal Sacchetti taking place on Parnassus April 10, 1664, in the presence of Apollo), the author is inspired by the game  of Trionfetti to emphasize the need to have good cards in confronting political situations, using the expression "avere Trionfetto franco” (to have frank Trionfetto), that is, winning cards. Below is the passage in which Cardinal Sacchetti, turning to Charles Joseph, exposes the need to have such prerogative, in reference to the attitude that the Duke of Savoy had taken, keener to establish a friendly relationship with Austria than with the King of France:

Card. Guardi bene, che il disprezzo non lo metta in necessità di qualche pericolo poscia che egli non può non esser Francese, senza arrischiare tutti li suoi stati à prima, e secondo,quando non vaglia mutar il gioco, & habbia Trionfetto cosi Franco, che non tema la Mutatione della Corte”.


Cardinal: Watch carefully, that contempt not put him in the necessity of incurring some danger because he can’t not be French, in the first place without putting at risk all his domains, and secondly, when he does not want to change the game, and has such Frank Trionfetto [i.e. good cards; but the capital F indicates a play on “Frank”], that he does not fear the Change of  Court".

Lorenzo Bellini
was born in Florence, September 3rd 1643. He graduated in medicine at the University of Pisa, at the age of nineteen published a scientific work on diuresis, the Exercitatio anatomica de structura et usu renum dedicata, and then published De gustus organo novissime deprehenso. He was a friend of Malpighi and of the greatest scientists of the time. His activity alternated from doctor and physiologist - becoming chief physician to Grand Duke Cosimo III - to literary production - he was a member of Arcadia - believed by his contemporaries to be of  such great quality that Redi in 1683, in a letter of November 5th, thanks Bellini for eight sonnets dedicated to him saying, that they were “una cosa miracolosa” (a miraculous thing) and proving him "uno de' maggiori poeti, e de' più robusti dell'Italia" (one of  the greatest and most robust poets of' Italy). He died in his hometown on January 8th, 1704. Bellini cites the game of Trionfini in Bucchereide (27) , an essay that stands as a playful response to a work on "buccheri" by Lorenzo Magalotti. Bellini had already composed a cicada on the subject read at the Accademia della Crusca "for  the banquet (28) of 15th September in the year 1699". In a series of stanzas in Part III of the Second Preface, the author, speaking on ethics, affirms that man would have to take into account every good principle and every good thing, even “il saper giocare a Trionfini” (the knowledge of how to play at Trionfini), in appraising the truth superior to any compromise.

L'avere un zelo della verità
Da sostener cento colpi d'accetta,
II voler riuscire in ciò che un fa
Più che sublime, o pur non vi si metta,
Il pospor fin la vita, e ciò che un ha,
A ciò, che il giusto, e la decenza detta,
L'aver grand'avi, gran sostanze, ed oro,
Ma il galantuom stimarlo più di loro.

To possess enough zeal for the truth to sustain one hundred  chops of an ax, wanting to succeed in what you do in sublime manner, or otherwise not to do anything, to defer life and  what you have to what justice and ethics dictate, To have great ancestors, great substance, and gold, but the esteem of an honorable man is more than them.

La venerazione a' letterati,
La grazia, il garbo, la galanteria
Nelle conversazion, ne’ ritrovati,
Parlando, oprando, in casa, e per la via,
Il conforto, e 'l soccorso a'tribolati,
Ed ogni cosa, che buona si sia,
Fino il saper giocare a' trionfini,
E l’esser colto del dottor Bellini.

The veneration of  literati, the grace, the politeness, the gallantry, during conversations and gatherings, talking, working, at home and on the road, comfort and relief to those who are suffering, and everything that is good, even to be able to play at trionfini, and to be cultured from Dr. Bellini (this last line meaning: know what Dr. Bellini says). 

Giambattista Basile (1566-1632), scholar and writer, the first to use the folk tale as a form of popular expression, mentions the game of Triumphs in an Eclogue composed in the language of Naples (29): 


Cienzo     ‘Nce schiaffo ‘sto triunfo, e torno afforza!
Mase       Tu l'hai pigliata ma troppo auta a cuollo
                 co tanta afforze!
Cienzo     Avisse da pigliare
                 chisto asso de denare?
Mase       Non serve ‘sto dellieggio,
                 vi’ ca ‘nce pe tutte,
                 e se la rota vota 
                 ‘nce rieste pe lo piede.

Cienzo      I put this triumph there, and I return; forcibly! 
Mase        You have picked it up, but too stiff-necked with so much "forcibly”.
Cienzo      Do you have to take this ace of coins?
Mase        You do not need this mockery, 
                  you see that there isn't something for everyone,
                  and if the wheel turns
                  you don’t put even one foot. (1)

that is "you don’t take even one step forward", meaning that he would lose.

The same author wrote Il Pentamerone, Overo Lo Cunto de li Cunti (Pentamerone, Or the Tale of Tales), published posthumously in 1634-36 due to the interest of his sister Adriana, a famous singer of the time. There he devotes much attention to the world of games, of which he lists the honest (including ‘Bazzica’ and ‘at the twenty figures’) and the dishonest (such as ‘thirty and forty’). On various occasions he uses expressions taken from popular parlance, such as, in the "Trattenemiento decemo de la jornata Primma" (Tenth Entertainment of the First Day) the one entitled La vecchia scorticata (The old woman flayed), where he uses the expression "ioquare a trionfello" (to play at Trionfiello) to indicate stealing :  “Dove chesta ioquava a trionfiello de ciance e de cassesie tutte l’autre averriano ioquato a banco falluto" (Where this woman played a Trionfello of nonsense and meaningless stories [to cover up her stealing], all the others would play ‘Banco falluto’) (30).

Again in the same work, in the short story La Mortela (Trattenemiento Secunno de la Jornata Primma - Second Entertainment of the First Day), Basile uses the term “Trionfetto”, in the sense of victory (from “Triumph”), borrowed from the game, to highlight the victory made ​​upon his heart by the extraordinary light of the eyes of his beloved, able by their brightness to make the stars grow pale (a view expressed through the use of the card game ‘Banco fallito’). A passage of great beauty.

“O bene mio, ca si vedenno senza cannele sto Tempio d’Ammore era quase spantecato, che sarà della vita mia, mò che c’haje allommato doje lampe? ò bell’huocchie, che co no trionfiello de luce facite joquare a banco falluto le stelle, vuje sulo, vuje havite spertosato sto core, vuje sulo potite comm’ova fresche farele na stoppata”. (O my dear, if I, looking without a candle at this Temple of Love, was about to die, what will become of my life now that you've lit two lamps? O beautiful eyes, which with a trionfetto of light  play  ‘banco fallito’ with the stars, only you have pierced this heart, only you, with fresh eggs, can make a ‘stoppata’ (31) for it) (32).

The phrase "triumph of cups" that Basile uses in the same story, indicates a "bad point in the card game" according to the note by Benedetto Croce to his Italian translation of the Neapolitan text:

“O amaro me, o scuro me, o tristo me! E chi mi ha fatto questa barba di stoppa? E chi mi ha fatto questo trionfo di coppe? O rovinato, sconquassato, sprofondato principe!” (Oh bitter me, oh gloomy me, oh sad me! And who made ​​me this  beard of  “stoppa”? And who made me this triumph of cups? Oh ruined, shattered, sunken prince! (33).


The Olivetan friar Bonaventura Tondi of Gubbio, doctor in sacred theology and royal chronicler of the city of Naples, where he lived in the XVIIth century, mentions the game of Trionfini in La Virtù vilipesa overo Il Trionfo dell’Ignoranza (Scorned Virtue or the Triumph of Ignorance) (34). In the work, as the title suggests, the author, intending to praise virtue and blame ignorance, gives several examples of people and of virtuous lives, contraposed to those deemed unworthy.


In the passage in which he cites Trionfini, Tondi strongly expresses his regret at seeing how fate negatively rages against men of value, in a society that elevates the mediocre while degrading men of genius. Everything is the opposite of what it should be no less in the game of Trionfino, where again the  [number]cards can beat the court cards: "Virtuous ones, be not dismayed if fate thrills to your detriment, because you have so many feathers in your hand [quills  to write with] which are so many nails to nail up (fix in pl.ace) your happiness; the persecution of the wise person serves as the cue for  the Dove of Archytas to fly higher, to the Heaven of glory, as the cloud is to the Rainbow that opposing adds to its beauty and splendor; so you see trifles enhanced; those who tried to form a fashionable God are not alone in the world: no longer alone is the City of Athens that promulgated the law of ostracism not for sad people [i.e. of little value], but for the best people in the Senate; everywhere the game of Trionfino has been introduced, where every little card gains [wins] over the court cards, and as the lazy person competes with the valiant, achieving honors without sweating in an exhausting race, each desire for glory is extinguished from the soul  of the valiant ones".


Niccolò Forteguerri (1674 -1735) was born in Pistoia and spent the greatest part of his life in Rome as an officer of the Curia. He published anthologies in the Arcadian style, besides fables and satires, but he is remembered above all for the Ricciardetto, written between 1716 and 1725 (35), composed of thirty songs in octaves, published posthumously with the name of the author given in a Greek way: Niccolò Carteromaco. “The Ricciardetto is a late fruit of the demise of the poetry and ideals of chivalry, in the wake of the tradition created by Pulci’s Morgante and Folengo’s Baldo. It is properly neither a satire nor a parody, since the chivalrous subject constitutes the mere beginning, the point of support for the free, joyful and witty fantasy which is the principal merit of the poem”.

In Octave of Canto XII we find some reference to tarots and Trionfini:

Octave 46

Gli uomini stanno in casa; e se talora
Per alcuna bisogna son forzati
Ad uscir, vanno con la fante (serva) fuora;
E quando in casa si son ritirati,
Ora da questa, or da quella Signora
Cortesemente sono visitati,
E trattenuti a l'ombre, a' tarocchini,
A primiera, a tresette, a' trionfini.

The men stay at home; and if sometimes
They are forced to go out for things they need
They go out with a servant:
And when they come back home,
They receive polite visits
Now of this, now of that lady,
With whom they spend time playing ombre, tarocchino,
primero, tresette, trionfini.

To conclude this brief review, we include Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, published in two books in 1605 and 1615, where in a invective launched by a girl against Quixote, among many curses, we also find among so many anathemas the wish that he could never have victorious cards in the games of Primero, Picchetto and Trionfini.

Chapter LVII

We speak about how Don Quixote took leave of the Duke, and what happened with the discreet and wily Altisidora, maid of the Duchess.

May your greatest adventures turn into disasters,
     your hobbies into chimeras,
     your assets into oblivion.
     Cruel Bireno, fugitive Aeneas.
     The Devil be with you and so be it.
And may you be considered to be false
     from Seville to Marcena,
     from Granada to Losci
     and from London to the whole of England.
 And if you play at trionfini,
     at picchetto or primero,
     every King will flee from you
     and you won't see aces or sevens,
And if you cut your calluses
     that your wounds will pour blood
     and if you extract your molars
     the roots will remain.
     Cruel Bireno, fugitive Aeneas.
     May the Devil take you away, and so be it   





The triunfo, as described above in connection with the treatise of Juan Maldonado, was a card game very much in use at the time of Cervantes. D. Sebastian de Covarrubias Orozco writes that it was called envidado, since the player put as his bet (envidar) whatever sum of money remained on the table (envidar el resto). The same author in his Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española [Thesaurus of the Castilian or Spanish Language) (1611) describes it in these terms (Here: Triunfo): "Ay a juego de naipes, que llaman triunfo" (This is a card game, which they call Triunfo).


"That life in the village is more tranquil and more privileged than life in the Court" he writes thus: "It is the privilege of the Village, that for all things therein time there is  time well distributed; and this seems to be true, that there is time to read a book., times to pray, to hear Mass in the Church, to go to visit the sick, to go to the fields to hunt, to make merry with friends, to walk through the threshing floor, to go to see the cattle, to eat early if you desire, to play a game of triumph, to take a siesta, and even to play with a crossbow". In Chapter VII, the subject of which is thus described: “Que en el Aldea son los ombres mas virtuosos, y menos vizioso que en las Cortes de los Principes” ["That in the Village are men more virtuous and less vicious than in the Courts of Princes"], the Triumphs game is listed among the pleasant pastimes of the villagers: "In the Court the rule is that if there is a festival, the women shave, the men get up late, the girls wear colored shoes, the boys eat lunch before Mass, put clean cloths on the table, play triumph after eating make stupid comments, murmur in the Church to one’s neighbors, and snack with the sisters ".


Placing uncertainty on the date of the above mentioned Ludus Chartarum seu Foliorum (1538?) composed by Vives, the dissertation Menosprecio de la Corte by Antonio de Guevara, as it appeared two years before that of Maldonado, appears as the first document known to date in which the game of Triumphs in Spain in the sixteenth century is cited. The writing of Maldonado Ludus Chartarum Triumphus remains, however, the more important document, since the game is not only mentioned, but described  quite exhaustively


A further indication of the game in Spain is found in the Plaza Universal (1615) of Cristóval Suárez de Figueroa, a work structured on the Piazza Universale (Universal Square) by Garzoni, where, treating of the players (Discourse 66), the author Cites the game of Triunfo as one of the best known card games of his time. Finally Don Diego Clemencin, in his notes to Don Quixote, printed in Madrid in 1836, writes that the game of Triumph in his time was called burro (= donkey), signifying that it as of little entertainment "juego insipidisimo, á que la calidad del eneite puede dar algo qué des interés" [inspid game, of as little quality as interest] (36).


Turning to the Italian-German world, we find a reference to the Triumphs in an account of a convivial moment reported in the diary of Cardinal Ernst Adalbert von Harrach (1598-1667), Archbishop of Prague and Prince-Bishop of Trento: "And I dined in the morning at Mr. [Wolfgang] of Stubenberg, and in the evening at Carl Breiner [Breuner], where with the ladies of those we played beste in the fashion, of Styria, i.e. without obligation to play a triumph when one hasn’t the colour [i.e. suit], without the page counting, with obligation that every time one plays,  that color will be triumph until the money on the round [circle where you put the bet] exceeds 2 silver ducats  and the colors are distributed from the beginning, according to the luck of the cards received, and as soon as you put down the cards, it is needed that the one who wants to speak against it, speaks it” (37). The German word beste is used here with the meaning of "the best" to indicate the best way to play fashionably, which was by not needing to take with a Triumph card when you do not possess a card of the suit played. It is a variant used in some card games of the German world, as  Skat,  Doppelkopf and also Bridge. Lothar Teikemeier informs us of a similarity with the game of chess described by the Spanish king Alfonso X the Wise, where it was instead necessary to capture a piece if a player was put in a position to do so, a move not included in the modern game. Alfonso calls "forced" this version and call it "Game of the bridesmaids", as it was invented by some overseas ladies. 


Still in Naples of the seventeenth century, the game of triumphs is listed among those allowed in the edicts promulgated by the Spanish Government. We are informed by the work In Pragmaticae, Edicta, Decreta, Interdicta, Regiaeque Sanctiones Regni Neapolitani (38) that contains  documents up to 1772 and which therefore constitutes the most comprehensive collection for knowing the state of play in Baroque Naples, It has a special chapter on this subject, De Aleatoribus, et Lusoribus (Titulus Sextus) with twenty Pragmatics dating from 1568 to 1766.


The table below shows the step of the Pragmatic XIV (39), which lists the allowed and prohibited games in the year 1638, as certified by the city governor, the Duke of Medina:



“….., ordiniamo, ed espressamente comandiamo al Reggente e a’ Giudici della Gran Corte della Vicaria, a’ Capitani di guardia di questa predetta e Fedelissima città, loro Caporali, e Soldati, ed agli altri Ministri di guardia, & signanter agli Affittatori delle pene de’giuochi proibiti, e Baratterie, e loro Officiali, e persone quali si vogliono, necnon a’Governatori, ed Uditori Provinciali, Capitani, ed Assessori, cosj Regi, come de’ Baroni del detto presente Regno, ed altri quali si vogliono Ufficiali, persone e ministri d’esso, e ciascuno di loro in solidum, presenti, e futuri, che non debbano in modo alcuno impedire, molestare, nè perturbare le persone, e conversazioni di gente, che giuocheranno, e facessero giuocare agl’infrascritti giuochi di carte permessi, e contenuti ne’ Decreti, e Bandi predetti, videlices. Picchetto, Tarocchi,Gilè, Sbracare, Ventifigure, Schiavichello, Malcontento, alla Gabella, Trapolare, Trunfo, due per due (40), nove Carte, Primiera ordinaria, Primiera scoverta, seu scommessa del quindici, punto, e pareglia, Runfo a sei, Ombre, Carrettufo, etiam a mano a mano con dodici o quindici carte, a Primiera buona, a quanto inviti, Primiera vada, vada tutti, detta alla Romana, tre sette con undici, tre sette scoverto a quattro montoni, permettendovi, e facendovi permettere, che a’ sopra dichiarati giuochi i possa liberamente, e senza impedimento, né contraddizione alcuna, giuocare in ogni luogo, e parte, così nelle case, come nelle Piazze di questa di questa predetta Fedelissima Città di Napoli, suoi Borghi, e Casali distretti, e di tutte l’altre Città, Terre, Casali, e luoghi del presente Regno, ed in più Tavole, e partite, non ostante qualsiasi Prammatica, e Bandi per noi, e nostri Predecessori emanati in contrario; acciocchè detto Arredamento non si venga a dismettere in danno del Real Patrimonio, essendo questi giuochi di piacere, e ricreazione di genti, con che in essi non si esiga cotto, etiam sotto colore di prezzo di carte, sotto le pene nelle Regie dette Prammatiche contenute, e non si faccia il contrario”. Dat. Neap. die. 26. Aug.1638. El Duque de Medina de las Torres, Principe di Stigliano, y Duque de Sabieneta. Vidit Carolus de Tapia Reg. Vidit Brancia Reg. Vidit Casanate Reg. Barillis. Secret. (41).


Among the prohibited games we find: “Cartetta, Quaranta, ogni altro di parata, primiera di qualsivoglia sorta, goffo, o sbracare, dadi, sub poena duc. 100. & alia ad arbitrum S. E. etiam quoad domicos domorum, & lusus ludorum non prohibitorum permittitur in una mensa tantum”.


At the end of this our further work, we mention the so-called games called Ombre [Shadowss],  still in the Naples area. In the Vocabolario delle parole del dialetto napoletano, che più si scostano  dal dialetto toscano, con alcune ricerche etimologiche sulle medesime, degli Accademici Filopatridi (Vocabulary of words of the Neapolitan dialect that deviate more from the Tuscan dialect, with some etymological research on the same, by the Academicians of the Filopatridi [sons of the fatherland]). (42), the games of Ombre are mentioned in reference to the term Fagliare, which means Tagliar col trionfo (Take with  a triumph) i.e. make a winning move, which in turn could be bested [by another player’s card]. In this case for Coprir con trionfo maggiore (To cover with the greater triumph), one speaks of Rifagliare.




1 - On the original number of Triumphs see the link Cooperation
2 - Item “Ludus ad Triumphos, Triumphorum” by Sella: Sabbioneta, 1484, I, 220 - Bergamo sec. XVI, IX, 171 - Crema, sec. XVI, p. 89 - Arezzo, 1580, III, 25 - «ad triumphos cum cartis» Brescello, sec. XVI, III, 79 - Reggio, 1501, III, 103 - Medulla, 1501, III, 33 - "ludus triumphorum carte et cartarum" Salò, sec. XVI, Stat. criminalia, 247 - Ancona, 1566, III, 27 - Calderola, 1586, IV, 44 - "ludo qui dicitur la diritta et Triumphi” Pistoia, sec. XVI, V, 60. The only doubt concerns the identity of the game shown by the Statutes of Sabbioneta. The year 1484 might also suggest that the game of Triumphs consists of 78 cards.
3 - AA.VV. Dizionario della lingua Italiana, Minerva, Padova, 1830.
4 - Casimiro Zalli, Carmagnola, 1830.
5 - Agostino Maria del Monte, Latium Restitutum seu Latina Lingua in veterem restituta splendorem, Rome, 1720. Dissertation  on the item “Ludo”, Part Two, Fifth Book, pages 554.
6 - Original text with English translation at link:

7 - This is the passage in which Vives mentions the game of Triumphs: ""Quo luso ludemus? Triumpho Ispanico, et distributor retinebit sibi indicem chartam, si sit monas, aut imago umana". 
8 -   Avogaria di Comun. R. 102, 173, July 14. The document was quoted by Giovanni Dolcetti in Le Bische e il giucco d’azzardo a Venezia, 1172-1807 (Casinos and gambling in Venice, 1172-1807), Venice, 1903, pages 85-86. The autor also advises that "Nel Casino degli Indifferenti alla Madonna dell'Orto (Inq. di St. B. 1195; anno 1794) si giuocava a Rocolo d'un soldo, a Tresette 15 soldi, a Trionfetti Lire 4 ed a Bassega d'un talero per ogni partita" (In the Casino of the Indifferents at Madonna dell’Orto (Inq. di St. B. 1195; year 1794), people play at Rocolo for 1 soldo, at Tresette 15 soldi, at Trionfetti Lire 4 and at Bassega for 1 talero each game)
9 - Avogaria di Comun. R.104. Giovanni Dolcetti, op. cit., page 197. 
10 - Avogaria di Comun. 105, 1768, august 25. Giovanni Dolcetti, op. cit., page 132. 
11 - In addition to the authors described below, the Game of Triumphs was quoted by Luigi Tansillo in his Capriccio in laude del gioco del Malcontento (Capriccio in praise of the game of Discontent)
12 - We have discussed the literary production of Pietro Aretino in reference to playing cards in the essays Tarot in Literature I, Symbolic Suits  and The Theatre of Brains.
13 -  Pietro Aretino, Le Carte Parlanti (The Talking Cards), Venice, Marco Ginanni Publ., 1650,  p. 40. In the edition by Giovanni Casalegno and Gabriella Giaccone (Palermo Sellerio Publ., 1992), Mr. Howard reports, this passage is on p. 84.
14 - This story, along with others taken from The Speaking Cards, was reported in a collection of writings entitled Alcune Novelle di Messer Pietro Aretino (Some Novellas of Messer Pietro Aretino), published in Lucca in 1856 for the use and consumption of the collectors of Italian novellas.
15 - Pietro Aretino, The Speaking Cards, op. cit, p. 172 (p. 236 of 1992 edition).
16 - The Ludus ad Condemnatam described by Gaspare Ungarelli among the gambling card games in Il Giuoco in Bologna (The Game in Bologna), in "Acts of the royal deputation of the country’s history for the provinces of Romagna", Series III, vol. XI, 1894, p. 368, consisted in each player choosing a card , after which his opponent distributed the cards to both of them and the one  who received the selected card won. Since obviously it was a mere gambling game, it was condemned (hence its name) to more reproofs by both the political and religious authorities. One example is a measure dated  1464 in which it was ordered that “niuno giocasse a carte il detestabile gioco della condannata" (no one dare to play the detestable card game of the condemned" in Archivio per l’antropologia e la etnologia (Archive for anthropology and ethnology), Vol l. 76-81, The Italian Society of Anthropology and Ethnology, Florence, 1946, p. 51.
17 Essame de’ Gl’Ingegni de Gl’Huomini per apprender le Scienze: nel quale scoprendosi la varietà delle nature, si mostra, a che professione sia atto ciascuno, & quanto profitto habbia fatto in essa (Survey on the Ability of Men to learn the Sciences: in which, discovering the variety of nature, it is shown in which profession each man is capable, and how much profit he would make with it), by Gio Haurte, Translated from Spanish by M. Camillo Camilli, Venice, Aldo [Manuzio] , Publisher, 1590, p. 122.
18 - Information on this author in Tarot in Literature II.
19 - The work was dedicated to the Academics of the Crusca.
20 - Girolamo Zorli, a leading scholar on the history of ancient card game rules, tells us that those of the Rovescina are missing. His hypothesis is that it was a  "not to take " card game where those who made the lowest score won, perhaps related to the game we now call Rovescino, but most likely characterized by "special" rules.
21 - For the understanding of some passages of the poem, in particular on different mentioned card games, see the intervention of Girolamo Zorli on the same subject at the link
22 - On this author see the discussion in Tarot in Literature I
23 - On Thomaso Garzoni see the essay The Hospital of Incurable Madmen.
24 -A comedy with the same title,but on a different topic,was also written by Folengo. 
25 - Venice, 1629.
26 - Cologne, by Scipione Cottar, 1672, p. 461.
27 - The work was published posthumously in 1729 in Florence.
28 - In Italian 'Stravizzio'.
29 - Cfr: Olga Silvana Casale, Le opere napoletane (The Neapolitan works), Vol I, Rome, 1989, p. 16. We remind the reader that the Triumphs game mentioned is the game in which one of the four suits is randomly picked as trumps
30 - Banco falluto (Banco Fallito) = Failed bank, a card game in vogue in Naples at that time, considered gambling. 
31 - The ‘stoppata’ was  a mixture of eggs, rose oil and turpentine, which was placed on wounds to stop bleeding.
32 - Edition of Reference: Il Pentamerone del Cavalier Giovan Battista Basile, Overo Lo Cunto de li Cunte, Trattenemiento de li Piccerille (The Pentamerone of the Cavalier Giovan Battista Basile, Or the Tale of Tales, Entertainment of the little boys). In Naples, At the expense of Jennaro Muzio, 1728, p. 29.
33 - For the full translation of Croce, see the link

34 - Napoli, Ludovico Cavallo, 1681, p.138.

35 - On Niccolò Fortegueri and Il Ricciardetto see Tarot in Literature II.

36 - P. 203.

37  Katrin Keller - Alessandro Catalano, Die Diarien und Tagzettel des Kardinals Ernst Adalbert von Harrach (Diaries and Daily notes of Cardinale Ernst Adalbert von Harrach), Wien-Köln-Weimar (Böhlau), 2010, p. 216. Edition in 7 volumes. The 54 years of diaries were written in Italian and published in German.

38 -  Sumptibus Antonii Cervonii, Napoli, 1772.

39 - P. 116

40 – In the Pragmatic XIII of 1631, this game is referred as a variant of the Triumphs: "Triumph two by two." 

41 - In addition to the Pragmatic XIV, other lists of allowed games that are modeled in part as described in the fourteenth, are VI and XIII.
42 - Napoli, 1784.