The Renaissance jewel of the Visconti family
An Italian Renaissance masterpiece, the Certosa di Pavia is nestled in the countryside a few kilometres from the centre of the Lombardy town of Pavia. This late-14th-century monumental complex was commissioned by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, as a sepulchral mausoleum for the Milanese dynasty, fulfilling a vow made by his wife Caterina. Featuring various architectural styles, from Italian late Gothic to Renaissance, as well as artistic and decorative styles, including refined marble sculptures and fine art paintings, its construction took about 50 years.
You can also visit the museum, which opened to the public in 1911. Built on two floors, it is also accessible to visitors with reduced mobility. Some 200 plaster casts of the reliefs decorating the façade, cloisters and other parts of the monastery are displayed on the ground floor.
On the first floor you can admire vestments, sculptures, altarpieces, panel paintings, marble reliefs and portraits of the Visconti and Sforza families. The works of art, including 14th-century frescoes by Bernardino de Rossi and paintings by Luini, Bergognone and Bartolomeo Montagna, all come from the Certosa di Pavia. There are also Renaissance sculptures and a vast collection of 19th-century plaster casts depicting details of the façade and cloisters, including the refined Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio, frescoed with motifs reminiscent of ancient Roman painting.
Before leaving, you can stop by the small shop selling traditional souvenirs and natural products, made by the monks.