Padula Charterhouse

Padula, Italy

Padula Charterhouse, in Italian Certosa di Padula, is a large Carthusian monastery located in the town of Padula, in the Cilento National Park, in Southern Italy. It is a World Heritage Site. The monastery is the largest in Italy. Its building history covers 450 years, but the principal parts of the buildings are in Baroque style. It is a very large monastery, comprising 51,500 m2, with 320 rooms and halls. A famous spiral staircase of white marble inside an annex leads to the large library.

Padula Charterhouse was founded by Tommaso di San Severino on 27 April 1306 on the site of an earlier monastery. It is dedicated to Saint Lawrence, and its architectural structure supposedly recalls the griddle-iron upon which the saint was burnt alive.

According to the strict Carthusian distinction between contemplation and work, there are two distinct places for these practices: on the one hand the peaceful cloisters, the library with its fine Vietri ceramic tiled floor, the chapels decorated with fine inlaid marble works. The altar frontals in most of the chapels are inlaid, not with marble, but with some of the most spectacular 18th. century scagliola work ever created. This is the highest concentration of such work in one place. One of the centres of production was in Naples. the cloister orchards; and on the other hand the large kitchen, the cellars with their enormous wine vats, the laundries, and the huge external yards, where there were people working in the stables, ovens, stores, and at the olive oil mill. The yards were used for productive activities and for trade between the charterhouse and the external world.

The monastery also houses the archaeological museum of Western Lucania, which preserves a collection of all the finds unearthed in the excavations at the necropolis of Sala Consilina and Padula. This museum represents a period of time ranging from protohistory to the Hellenistic Age.

The building has also played a role in the military history of Italy. It served as French headquarters during the Napoleonic Wars, then as a base of Garibaldi's Southern Army during the Risorgimento, finally, as an internment camp for prisoners during the World War 1 and World War 2. It was here that the Czechoslovak Legion in Italy was established in 1917.

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Padula, Italy
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Founded: 1306
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

ania andrews (10 months ago)
Carthusian monasteries are of interest to me (due to my job) so obviously I enjoyed the visit but my family loved it too. It's a well preserved example even though the monks are no longer there.
irko mai (2 years ago)
Great old monastery, very big territory, well preserved.
Massimo Micheli (2 years ago)
It is a shame such a beautiful place is so badly connected to anywhere. We drove all the way here on our road trip, it’s definitely worth a visit if you are around but too much hassle if not.
Cherida Bush (3 years ago)
This gem was a great experience, I wish we had more time to visit everything. It deserves s visit even if short on time but plan at least 2 or 3 hours for a more relaxed experience.
Alessia Mattiaccio (4 years ago)
A beautiful place that we visited in about two hours! All spectacular from the quiet cloister, the library with the floor covered with Vietri sul Mare ceramic tiles, the church decorated with precious marble, the large kitchen, the spiral staircase, the Sala delle Campane, of the Chapter and the Treasury, the various Chapels, the largest Cloister in the world with the Carthusian Cells really a marvel !!! Despite its majesty and beauty, the place has lost that mystical and sacred dimension typical of religious places. There is a large outdoor parking cost € 3.00. In the courtyard you can admire the beautiful seventeenth-century façade in Baroque style where there is the ticket office together with the bookshop point, which is usually located at the end of the route. We wanted to buy a little book but finished in Italian language! Besides the fact that it is a unique place and therefore absolutely to visit but it could really does much more!
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