Gregorovius and the Trisulti Charterhouse
Ferdinand Gregorovius (1821-1891) described his arrival in Trisulti – the medieval charterhouse in Collepardo, in the province of Frosinone – in his “Wanderjahre in Italien” (“Years of Wandering in Italy”), an account of his travels in the country between 1856 and 1877.
The German historian says he had “reached the high ground where the Trisulti Charterhouse rises: it sits on a wide plateau, surrounded by magnificent mountains. A wonderful oak tree forest blocked the view of the convent. Going forward, I saw two friars dressed in white from afar. They were walking up and down in the cool shade of those mighty trees, and I envied the philosophical calm they seemed to enjoy. If a place exists where the human spirit can reach the gravest and highest meditation, this must be it, in one of the most sublime states of solitude I have ever seen.”
The forest Gregorovius mentions is the Selva d’Ecio, and the mountains are the Monti Ernici; the monastery was built in 1204 at their foot, in an area called Rotonaria. The friars the author saw in the distance where Carthusians, but since 1947 the complex has been entrusted to the Cistercian Order.
The detail that made the strongest impression on Gregorovius, however, was the pharmacy, in which he writes he “entered with more devotion than a church would have inspired”.
“In front of its open loggia,” he continued, “a very well groomed garden is a joy for the eye and the soul, offering a view of numerous fresh and fragrant plants, in the most varied range of species.”
Gregorovius stopped in Trisulti for only one day, but it was enough for to fall in love with the place where “God’s voice seems to speak in the rustle of the wind, between the leaves in the forest, in the roar of the wild river, and in the storm raging with thunder and lightning on the mountaintops.”