Set amidst verdant woods at the foot of Mount Rotonaria, this famous and majestic Cistercian Charterhouse (a national monument since 1873) at 825m above see level, was founded by Pope Innocent III in 1204. You enter the complex through a front door, decorated with a bas-relief of St. Bartholomew, the patron of the Carthusians, while in the second arch the “Madonna who gives bread a Monaco”, a painting by Filippo Balbi. You reach the main square of the monastery, where you see the medieval facade of the Palace of Innocent III, which now houses an important library and the neoclassical facade of the church, dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption, San Bartolomeo and San Bruno. The church, a hall divided into two sections by a partition, on whose sides there are two altars which house the bodies of two holy martyrs: Bonifacio and Benedetto. On the walls there are beautiful paintings of F. Balbi, and below, is set against the chorus of lay brothers, the work of local carvers executed at the end of the 17th century. The choir of the church, rich in carvings and animal figures, was executed by the sculptor Jacobo at the end of the 16th century. The walls of the church are full of paintings of Balbi and Battelli, while the largest ceiling fresco, made by Caci, represents the “Glory of the Blesseds and Saints”. But the most precious treasure of the monastery is the historical Herbal Pharmacy of the 1600s, where you can admire the many majolica vases which were used to store spices, ointments, medicines and drugs. The Pharmacy was frescoed by the painter G. Manco with Pompeian themes and decorated with artistic windows, within which are still preserved glassware and ceramics containing medicines.

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