La Certosa di Pavia

This is an excerpt from the book “Milan and day trips to lakes and art cities

Carthusian abbey of Pavia (Certosa di Pavia)
Carthusian abbey of Pavia (Certosa di Pavia)

Certosa di Pavia is the name of a famous monastery complex in Lombardy, Italy, situated near a small town (in Province of Pavia) with the same name.

Certosa is the Italian name for Charterhouse, which relates to the cloistered monastic order. The late medieval (northern Italian gothic) Certosa of Pavia is noted for a highly decorated facade and church interior.

The Certosa di Pavia contains a detailed bas-relief depiction of the founding on 27 August 1396 of the structure by Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1351 – 1402).

Ludovico il Moro tumb
Ludovico il Moro tomb – Photo © Liberty Place

It contains the tomb of the first Duke of Milan of Milanese, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, and of despots such as Ludovico Sforza (“The Moor”), 7th Duke of Milano (1452 – 1508 (46)), and his wife, Beatrice d’Este.

In the church of the chartreuse, there are also paintings and frescoes by Perugino, Bergognone, Bernardino Luini, Andrea Solari, Cerano, Morazzone, Guercino, Daniele Crespi and Giulio Cesare Procaccini and sculptures by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo and Cristoforo Solari.

One of the most magnificent of all religious structures, the Certosa di Pavia has been maintained as a national monument since 1866. The church, forming its nucleus, was begun in the style of the Italian Gothic in 1396 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milano.

Certosa di Pavia - Chiostro Photo Luigi Chiesa
Certosa di Pavia – Chiostro

Little more than the nave was executed in this style, since the Renaissance, diffusing its new taste, quickly dominated the design of the edifice. The facade seems to have been begun in 1491 by a group of architects and sculptors under the leadership of Giovanni Antonio Amadeo; it was finished in the mid-16th cent.

Built of precious marbles and profusely ornamented with excellent sculptural decorations, the facade of the Certosa di Pavia is one of the masterpieces of Renaissance decorative design. The two large arcaded cloisters are of richly ornamented terra-cotta. The main choir was severely damaged in World War II but was restored between 1953 and 1959.

Where to stay in Pavia

There are hotels, apartments, B&Bs, and guesthouses available, check it out and make a reservation here.