Certosa of Padula
The town of Padula is known worldwide for its stunning Carthusian Monastery of San Lorenzo, that makes this Cilentan town the main destination for religious tourism in the Province of Salerno and is among one of the most beautiful monuments of Italian artistic heritage.
The Carthusian Monastery of San Lorenzo in Padula is a fascinating place, full of history and an intense spirituality. In 1998 the monastery was declared a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity, and in 2002 the Campania district included it in the list of Major Cultural Attractions.
The architectural structure of the monastery of Padula is divided into two areas: the work area, and the residential area of the monks. A large boundary wall surrounded this enormous religious building. Around the external court was the grocery, the grocer’s house and the guest-quarters.
Within the walls was also the Park of the Carthusian Monestary of Padula, that once upon a time was the “Garden of the Cloister”.
In the church of the monastery, the monks found themselves in a rare moment of communal life. Sitting on one side, the monks not taking part in the vote of the cloister, and on the side, the Fathers of the cloister, who would arrive from an internal passage. Of particular interest is the high altar and the main door made out of cedar wood, dating back to 1374.
Unfortunately in the church, as in other parts of the monastery, many empty spaces testify to the suppression of the monastery by the French at the beginning of the nineteenth century, which caused the dispersion of several artistic treasures.
In a corner of the cloister of the small ancient cemetery, that the Fathers of the cloister used to cross to reach the church, is the Chapel of the Founder that contains the sixteenth-century sarcophagus of Tommaso Sanseverino.
When this area of the monastery fell into disuse, the monks decided to build a new cloister. This cloister, called ‘grande’ for its dimensions, was created from 1583, and was developed on two levels: the lower level, the porch with the cells of the Fathers, and above, the glass tunnel used for the weekly walk.
An double flighted, elliptical staircase of Vanvitellian style with 8 large windows, united the two levels of the grand cloister.
The Cell of the Prior is reached after passing through a large door that separates the area of the cells of the Fathers from all other areas so far described. This location, in contrast to the small, austere cells of the monks, is an apartment containing 10 rooms, mainly characterized for its direct access to one of the most well equipped religious libraries in the world, that in the past held thousands of books, illuminated codes, and manuscripts.
Padula 120 km from Maiori
Information office tel. 0975778711 – 0975778549