The Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno
A place of peace and beauty, shrouded in mystery
What it is and where it is
The Carthusian Monastery of Serra San Bruno is totally immersed in the green of the Calabrian Serre Mountains and is surrounded by a park with very well-maintained paths and ancient trees. It is an ancient monastic complex belonging to the Carthusian Order, still inhabited and guarded by its monks, although now fewer in number than in the past, and is a source of great pride for religious Calabria: in fact, there are currently only 21 Carthusian monasteries in the whole world, including the one in Calabria.
Why it is special
The Charterhouse's spacious and mysterious rooms are now closed to the public. This choice is motivated by the presence of the monks who live here in contemplation and prayer, withdrawn from the world. However, to still allow devotees and the curious to get to know it, a museum has been set up in the former stables and stables. Here the daily spaces of the Carthusian monk's life are faithfully reconstructed through a highly evocative guided tour, also enriched by the projection of interesting videos documenting life in the Carthusian monastery.
Not to be missed
A large tree-lined avenue connects the Charterhouse to the town of Serra San Bruno. This may seem an unusual statement given that normally Carthusian monasteries and convents maintained an uninhabited area called "desert" around them, but in reality the tradition is maintained thanks to the fields and woods surrounding the Carthusian monastery. Here, then, everyone can choose whether to explore the village, which delights visitors in the fall with the Mushroom Festival, or to go into the vegetation for a soothing walk, following the example of the monks who sometimes roam the paths in the surrounding area.
A bit of history
Founded between 1090 and 1101 by Brunone of C ologne, it is considered the spiritual heart of Calabria. Brunone of Cologne, known to all as Saint Bruno, was born in Cologne and died in Serra San Bruno, where he arrived after various vicissitudes. A lover of prayer and a silent, contemplative life, he refused the bishopric of Reggio Calabria, offered to him by Urban II, and accepted the lands offered to him as a gift by Count Roger the Norman. Here he would build the Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno, also known as the "Charterhouse of San Bruno and Saint Stephen." There are very few monks living there today, and they come from all parts of the world.
The ban on entry inside the Charterhouse has over time created a cloak of mystery, and with it, myths and legends. It is said, for example, that the Library, because of its beauty and richness, is a magical place. There are also many legends about the guests of the Charterhouse: some speak of the pilot of the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, while Leonardo Sciascia has always maintained that the famous physicist Ettore Majorana locked himself up in the Charterhouse of Serra and died here.
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