I already wrote about one of the towns I love in Lombardy, Pavia. Well, a very few kilometers from there you can find a real jewel, one more: Certosa di Pavia. It is not only a church and a monastery. But it is a great example of the best religious architecture. It doesn’t matter if you are not Catholic or you don’t enter churches. Because in any case, you will be speechless in front of the art. I strongly recommend you to visit it if you are in Milan. You have to travel for less than 40 km. Passing by the highway or even via to local street (SP35).
Frescoes and sculptures are everywhere. The Certosa di Pavia has a beautiful church. But it is really suggestive the part with the cells and the cloister. Where friars sleep and pray. The visit is allowed in a huge part of the areas. At the end of the tour is a good habit to leave a tip to friars. They use the money for the restoration. As they do with the money earned selling jam, herbs and so on. The entire building is very well kept. Let’s see together the most important part of the attraction.
Certosa di Pavia in history
The first project of the Certosa di Pavia, with a Latin cross plan, bears the signature of Bernardo da Venezia. The same architect of the Duomo of Milan. Also, the customer was the same: Gian Galeazzo Visconti. The laying of the foundation stone in 1396, that of the last almost two centuries later. The count will never see his creature created: he died in 1402 and he is buried inside it.
Since the early stages of its life, the Certosa di Pavia was a monastery. It has hosted monks dedicated to prayer and work. After the Carthusians, Cistercians, and Carmelites, today the Cistercians are still involved in the management of the complex. They offer guided tours, they also do the sale of typical products and sacred articles. Their way of life is following the same rules of the past. Maybe that’s why to enter the place looks like to jump in the past.
Certosa di Pavia: what to see
It’s a Unesco Heritage, so you can really expect something wonderful. Let me tell you some more details about the art of Certosa di Pavia. A Renaissance-style vestibule leads to the church, with three naves accompanied by an apse and transept. Among the beautiful works of art of the Certosa di Pavia, frescoes and sculptures made by Bergognone and Mantegazza and immediately identifiable at first glance.
The façade was also beautiful, begun by Solari and completed by Briosco, the author of the portal. Clearly of Gothic origin, the upper part of the same was never completed and is richly decorated by the hand of Cristoforo Lombardo. To complete the complex they made two cloisters. This is what you can see outside, but there is more inside the monastery.
The Certosa di Pavia is a true concentration of paintings, frescoes and magnificent decorations. To see the polyptych by Perugino, the splendid figures on the walls of Guercino, Giovan Battista Carlone, Bergognone and Macrino d’Alba. The ivory triptych of Embriachi is splendid, signed by Baldassarre di Simone di Aliotto. In the presbytery, you can admire the frescoes by Crespi and Cerano, as well as in the transept, where the tomb of Gian Galeazzo is located. The tombs of Ludovico il Moro and Beatrice d’Este are also preserved in the Charterhouse.
Then you can visit the museum. At the Certosa di Pavia, the artworks are also those exhibited in the rooms of the museum. The building is adjacent to the main body and set up in the halls of the Palazzo Ducale. You can visit the two sections available. The Gipsoteca is composed of more than 200 plaster casts, executed by Pietro and Edoardo Pierotti in various parts of the Certosa. On the upper floor, there are paintings and sculptures. Among which a splendid altarpiece of the Mountain stands out.
6 reasons to visit Certosa di Pavia
|1||It's one of the most fashionable Renessaince-style constructions|
|2||It's located less than 40 km far from Milan|
|3||There are no tickets to pay|
|4||You can see sculptures, frescoes, paintings, and decorations made by the most important Italian artists of the past|
|5||The Certosa di Pavia represents the typical life of a monastery|
|6||You can explore the history of Lombardy and of Italy, not only from the religious point of view|
Enjoy the visit!