The Padula Charterhouse
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Padula Charterhouse is the largest monastic monument in southern Italy. Its construction began in 1306 at the behest of Tommaso Sanseverino. The work continued until the end of the eighteenth century. With the arrival of Napoleon, the happy period of the convent citadel ended, when the French general ordered the suppression of the Certosini's Order.
Once the monks left the monastery, the Charterhouse was stripped of all its treasures. After a brief return, the monks left the complex permanently in 1866. Forgotten for years, the restoration works began in 1960, when it was understood the importance of bringing this beautiful structure back to its former glory. More than 50 thousand square meters the area occupied by the entire complex. Particular is also the layout, in the shape of a grid to commemorate the martyrdom of San Lorenzo, which follows the classical layout of the Certosini's monastery.
The Charterhouse of Padula is divided into two large areas: the "casa bassa" where religious and lay people carried out activities useful to the community (barns, stables, warehouses), the "casa alta" with common areas near the church (kitchen, refectory, chapter and treasure room) and the secluded area dedicated to the monks and their study activities (cells, prior's apartment, library, gardens).
The church is also beautiful with its two choirs, one reserved for the religious and the other for the fathers, and the majestic altar with mother-of-pearl inlays. The kitchen with the central furnace with a large hood is also unique. The large cloister is also marvellous and, with its 15 thousand square metres of surface area, is one of the largest in Europe. In the lower area, the porch. In the higher area, the cells of the fathers and the windowed gallery used by the monks for the weekly walk. A spectacular elliptical double ramp staircase connects the two levels on which the cloister is built.
This important monastic complex is located just 45 minutes by car from Villamirella. An important and majestic place afterwards where you can touch with your own hands part of the history of the National Park of Cilento.