Calci | The Monumental Charterhouse

The Charterhouse of Pisa is part of the state museums as the National Museum of the Monumental Charterhouse of Calci. It dates back to 1366. It was founded by the Archbishop of Pisa and soon took on religious and social importance throughout the territory, although it did not reach its present size until the 17th and 18th centuries.

The visit route

The monastery can be accessed from two avenues, from which there is a perspective view of the double facade of the complex. The tour of the National Museum for the public winds its way through the entire first floor, touching on the most significant areas rich in works of art: the court of honour, pharmacy, church, chapels, cloister of the fathers and cell, cloister and chapel of the chapter, refectory, guest quarters and grand ducal cloister, places of remarkable cultural heritage that remind us of a world that for centuries was built and nourished in an exemplary self-sufficiency.

Certosa di Calci – ©Guglielmo Giambartolomei


The floors are all in Carrara marble, in three shades: white, black and grey. They have been laid in a perspective manner, so they change depending on the point from which they are viewed. Each chapel has a different floor design, but always with the same characteristics, is richly frescoed, and adorned with a marble altar.

There were 14 Fathers: no other could be admitted except on the death of a predecessor. They were always noble, or rich, or both: their task was exclusively to pray, they were bound by the strictest enclosure, and they only went out on Sundays for lunch when the community met in the refectory.

The Charterhouse and the Grand Duke: since the Charterhouse was the most important in the Grand Duchy, it had a wing dedicated to guest quarters, where not only the relatives of the Fathers but also nobles wishing to have a mystical experience could spend a few days. Given the special attention and frequent visits of Grand Duke Leopold of Lorraine to the monastery, the Prior had a flat built, known as the ‘Granducale’.

The sacristy houses the Atlantic Bible, an extraordinary codex from the 12th century in four volumes. The last Carthusian monk left the Certosa in 1972, after more than six centuries of life in seclusion and absolute silence. The complex houses the National Museum of the Monumental Charterhouse of Calci and the Museum of Natural History of the University of Pisa.

The Charterhouse houses the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa.

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