The Padula Charterhouse
The Padula Charterhouse – whose full name in Italian is Certosa di San Lorenzo di Padula – was built in Campania, in the province of Salerno, with a fundamental harmony between big and small.
The existential dimension of the friars who lived there was reduced to the minimum, as they spent almost all their time inside their cells (twenty-four of which are intact to this day), praying, studying and meditating.
Everything else was exaggerated, starting from the very structure of the baroque building – with over 50,000 square meters making it one of the largest monasteries in Italy, opening out to considerable wide open spaces. The cloister, among the most spacious in Europe, is about 12,000 square meters and is encircled by a tiara of 84 columns; the kitchen is where, according to legend, a giant omelette of over one thousand eggs was prepared for Charles V, on whose vast empire “the sun never set”; the cellars were full of huge barrels of the wine produced by the monks; and finally the library, accessed by climbing an expansive spiral staircase…
A harmony between big and small that was recognized even by the UNESCO, which has declared the Padula Charterhouse a World Heritage Site.