Legend has it that in 1389, the Duke of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti wanted to build a Charterhouse in Pavia – what is now the magnificent, monumental complex that includes a sanctuary and a monastery. He knew Siena had “more charterhouses than any other city in the Christian world” and so he asked directly the people of that city to allow friar Stefano Maconi to come to Milan as a consultant.
Now beatified in the Catholic Church, Maconi was the prior of the Pontignano Charterhouse and a disciple of Saint Catherine; and Siena indeed had no less than three Carthusian monasteries: in Pontignano, in Maggiano and one (now gone) in Belriguardo.
The Pontignano Charterhouse, also known as the Charterhouse of Saint Peter, was founded in the mid-14th century by Bindo Falcone. The complex was completely renovated in the second half of the 16th century, and is divided into three sections on a rectangular area: one for monks, including the cloister surrounded by twelve of the Carthusians’ typical cells; one with the monastery and the church, dedicated to the Prince of the Apostles; and one dedicated to converts.
Today the monastery is a venue for congresses and study meetings, but it is still decorated with frescoes by artists of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Bernardino Poccetti, Giuseppe Nicola Nasini, Francesco Vanni and Antonio Fanzaresi.
Pontignano, in Castelnuovo Berardenga (Siena)
Localita Pontignano, 5
Tel.: +39 0577 1521104