Lombardy, a land of wonder and discovery. If you want to get out of the itineraries alone and immerse yourself in the most beautiful and fascinating history, I advise you to consider going as far as the Po valley, in the province of Pavia and here to organize a small but wonderful journey between religion and history. Here is my journey to the Certosa di Pavia and the Castello di Chignolo Po.
Charterhouse of Pavia
The Charterhouse of Pavia had a long period of construction that took almost a century from 1396 to 1497, which is why inside it is possible to notice a great diversity of styles. The predominant one is the Gothic, although here it is represented in a particular way because of a large quantity of decorations, and then it passes to the Renaissance style due to two of the great architects of the Milan Cathedral such as Monti and Solari up to the Baroque style of the chapels renovated in the 1600s.
The Charterhouse of Pavia was originally supposed to be a second Duomo of Milan, which is why, unlike all the Carthusian monasteries in Italy and Europe, it was not built with a single nave, but five. This was due to the fact that Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who commissioned it, wanted a place of worship that should have surprised.
The church is dedicated to the Maria delle Grazie (Maria Gra is a monogram distributed everywhere inside the complex), Madonna to which the Visconti were devoted and which is why the dedication “Maria” to all the males of the family.
Of particular value and attention the refectory of the Certosa was built first and used as a church while it was under construction. Inside, a wall is frescoed with the Ultima Cena by Ottavio Semino, a far more complete and complex work than the well-known Ultima Cena by Leonardo Da Vinci in Santa Maria delle Grazie (and in my humble opinion also much more beautiful).
The Procaccini Castle (name taken from its last owner) is also known as Chignolo Po’s Castle and its oldest core (the central tower up to the curb of the second window) dates back to 740 D.C. as it was built by the King of the Lombards as a lookout tower between the two rivers of the area: Po’ and Lambro. At the end of 1200 the structure was enlarged and the castle was built but at the beginning it was a fortress.
The transformation from fortress to stately castle takes place by Cardinal Augustino Cusani who will also be the architect of the construction of the Palazzina della Caccia or Tea, which was a place for fun and entertainment for guests.
When the Cusanians became extinct, the Sovereign Order of Malta took over, from which the current owners, the Procaccini, bought the castle in 1987.
Inside it is possible to enjoy enchanting frescoes all with a mythological theme and by the students of Tiepolo. Here it is possible to notice how the Venetian Baroque explodes in all its beauty with a flanking of stuccos and frescoes that give three-dimensionality to the images represented.
This style, typical of Venetian villas, was brought by Augustino Cusani who had been Cardinal Nuncio Apostolic of the Holy See in Venice, last but not least also some wonderful floors typical of Palladian villas.
Charterhouse of Pavia: be very careful to inform yourself before hours to avoid arriving and being unable to enter. The Charterhouse can be visited alone or with guided tours by the Carthusians lasting about an hour. They are free, but it is good practice to leave an offer to the monks.
Guided tours are in Italian, but in some cases (depending on the availability of the monk) in other languages.
It is forbidden to take photographs inside the Charterhouse of Pavia.
Procaccini Castle: the castle has an entrance fee of € 10 and includes a guided tour of about an hour from the inside and outside of the castle.
Guided tours are in Italian and English.
Inside the castle it is forbidden to take pictures.