Many visitors to Italy come, at least in part, to savour its myriad religious splendours, from the breathtaking wonders of the Vatican Museums to the delightful and beguiling churches to be found in so many villages and towns up and down the country.
But at ItalyIndeed we are particularly fond of the enchanting Carthusian monastery of Trisulti at Collepardo.
Nestling in the oak woods of the Hernici Hills on the cusp of the National Park of Abruzzo, it was consecrated in 1211 and made a national monument in 1873. Initiated in 1204 on instruction from Pope Innocent III close to the site of a Benedictine Abbey, (whose remains can still be seen today), this wonderful complex of buildings has been modified and enlarged several times over the centuries.
Today it is surrounded by imposing walls with entry via a door adorned by a low-relief showing St. Bartholomew, (protector of the Carthusians and to whom the abbey church is dedicated), by Jacopo Lo Duca, a student of Michelangelo. Pass through to the central square and you’ll be confronted with two facades, one medieval and the other Neoclassical.
The former is of a Romanesque-Gothic guesthouse known as the Palace of Innocent III which contains an important library of some thirty-six thousand volumes. The latter is that of the church which is divided into two parts as is typical of the Carthusians – separating monks from converts – and contains the remains of two knights of the Crusades, frescoes and paintings by Filippo Balbi, and other works including a depiction of the Massacre of the Innocents. But perhaps the highlight of any visit to Trisulti is the ancient pharmacy which today is a museum. Dating from the 1700s and on two levels, it is decorated with frescoes by Giuseppe Manco as well as contemporary furniture and still houses the glass bottles and cabinets used by the monks to preserve the herbs and spices they collected from the surrounding hills in order to extract the essences and aromas still produced in the monastery to this very day. Come to Trisulti with us and experience a unique atmosphere of serenity you just won’t find anywhere else.