The Certosa di San Lorenzo (Certosa di Padula) is the largest Charterhouse in Italy. In 1998 has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The architectural system of the Certosa di Padula, is divided into two parts: the first includes workplaces; the second is the area of residence of the monks.
A great city wall encircled the huge religious edifice. Around the outer Court was the spezieria, the residence of the apothecary and the guesthouse. Between the walls even the Parco della Certosa di Padula, formerly "enclosed garden".
In the Church of the Certosa di San Lorenzo, the monks found themselves in one of the rare moments of community life. On one side sat the monks who were not cloistered voting; near the sanctuary sat instead cloistered fathers that there came through a passage. Of considerable interest are the altar and the door of cedarwood, dates back to 1374. Unfortunately, in the Church as in other places of the Certosa, numerous empty spaces testify to the abolition of the Monastery by the French in the early nineteenth century, which resulted in the loss of many treasures. In a corner of the cloister of the small ancient Cemetery, which the fathers of seclusion to reach across the Church, there is the founder's Chapel that contains the 16th-century sarcophagus of Tommaso Sanseverino.
When this area of the Monastery fell into disuse, the monks decided to build a new cloister. The latter, called "great" because of the size, was built from 1583, and develops on two levels: at the bottom, the porch with cells of the fathers; at the top, the Gallery Windows used for the weekly walk.
An elliptical staircase double rampvanvitelliano style, with eight large Windows, combines the two levels of the cloister.
The prior's cell is reached after passing a gate that separates the cell area of the fathers from all previously described environments. The site, unlike the small and austere monks ' cells, is a ten-room apartment, characterized mainly by direct access to one of the most religious libraries provided in the world, which in the past kept thousands of books, illuminated manuscripts, manuscripts. An impressive spiral staircase in stone, pops out and leads to the vestibule of the great library of the Certosa di Padula, of which however only two thousand volumes remain.
from 09:00 to 19:00. Closing hours 19:30.
Closed on Tuesday
How to get there
Padula is reachable by car, driving along the motorway Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway until exit Padula-Buonabitacolo, and continuing for the SS 19; by bus of Ferrovie dello Stato lineside Sicignano-Lagonegro, whilst the nearest train station are Sicignano degli Alburni and Sapri.