Certosa di Pavia

Pavia, Italy | C.1497

Photo Credit: @sisca__95

Meticulous details and expert craftsmanship set apart the Certosa di Pavia from other religious assemblies. This detailed structure functions as not only as a church, but also serves as a monastery in Lombardy, Italy situated near a small town of the same name in the Province of Pavia.

A bas relief carving on the façade of the building claims that August 27, 1396 was the first day the foundation stones were laid at the Certosa di Pavia. Commissioned by Gian Galeazzo Visconti – hereditary lord and first Duke of Milan – he asked architect Marco Solari to draft the plans of the elaborate project.

The church was the last edifice of the complex to be built and was to be the family mausoleum of the Visconti. It was finally consecrated on May 3, 1497, even though the lower portion of the front façade wouldn’t be completed until 1507.

The church’s plan is laid out in a common Gothic architectural style which includes a Latin cross floor plan, with a nave, two aisles and a transept. High above the pews are crossed vaults on Gothic arches. It sought inspiration from the Duomo of Milan on a reduced scale.

The facade is famous for its grandiose decorations typical of Lombard architecture. Every portion of the front edifice is decorated with reliefs, statues, and inlaid marble. In addition to applied sculpture, the facade itself has a rich sculptural quality because of the contrast between richly textured surfaces, projecting buttresses, horizontal courses and arched openings.

The monasteries are currently occupied by Cistercian Monks who admitted on the grounds in the 1960s. The grounds additionally host a museum that displays nearly 200 plaster casts of the sculptures on the church’s edifice. Along with these treasures can be found other relics such as sculptures, altarpieces, and other examples of fine art.

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