CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY OF CALCI
The Carthusian Monastery of Calci (Certosa of Calci) is a beautiful place near Pisa (in Calci district) in a level ground area called Valgraziosa, just in front of Monti Pisani.
The present aspect is Baroque: there’s a big inner courtyard for the community life of the monks.
Going on after the courtyard we find the cells, the orchards and the rooms for the private life of the monks.
In the inner courtyard we find the cemetery so the monks could stay in the Certosa forever.
The Certosa was built by the monks in 1366 and it was enlarged during XVII and XVIII centuries.
Its building was authorized by the bishop of Pisa Francesco Moricotti and it was economically possible thanks to some noble families from Pisa.
Since 1923 the Certosa wasopened like a National Museum and this was completely possible in 1972, when the last monks left the Certosa.
Nowadays it is possible to visit the church, the chapels, the big cloister and one cell, the refectory and the guest house.
In 1979 a part of the building became a Natural History Museum.
HISTORY OF THE CARTHUSIAN ORDER
In 1804 the noble man Bruno founded the first monastery of Carthusian monks: the name comes from the place Chartreuse in France, where it has been founded.
The 2 most important rules of the monks were: “ora et labora” (pray and work) and absolute silence.
LIFE IN THE MONASTERY
The monks lived in reclusion and they could not have relations with the world.
At the entrance of the building we find the maxim “o beta solitudo, o sola beatitudo”, which reminds us of their life in reclusion.
Only in some moments during the day the monks could carry out activities in community, like to walk, to eat, to talk to each other in a particular chapel, to take part to the Mass.
Together with the monks the CONVERSI lived: they were laical people that didn’t live in reclusion.
The monks had to respect the rule of silence and had to shave, while the conversi could have relation with the world and they had a long beard.
There was a notice board where the daily tasks were specified: time to pray, to study or to do manual activities. Since the monks couldn’t talk to each other they read their tasks on the board.
The church was built in 1300 and it’s divided into two parts: one for the conversi and one for the monks.
In the monastery there are lots of frescos which show us details of the monks’ life and they contain lots of optic effects.
Lots of important people (for example the Grand Duke of Tuscany) stayed for a while in the Certosa in the guest house.
The monks’ cells faced the big courtyard: they were wide and had a garden with an orchard.
Inside the monastery you can still see the Pharmacy where the monks prepared products with the herbs the grew in their orchard.
Leaving the monastery…
…you will feel having visited a magic place and you will feel the desire to visit it again.
To organize your visit the website is the following: