I won’t write about the Carthusian Order here.
Mike Michelsen has done so at length in a blog post and I can’t imagine anything I’d have to add to that 🙂
Most Carthusian monasteries have been closed during or around the Napoleonic wars. The “non-productive” life style of Carthusians had been associated with aristocracy and was seen as luxurious and frivolous. Not unreasonably so, I might say.
I had not made inquiries about monasteries in or around Ferrara, my trusty old travel guide for the Emilia Romagna didn’t mention a Certosa, and so I was pretty surprised actually finding one while looking on the map in search for the Jewish Cemetery.
The reason is, that the Certosa in Ferrara was closed around 1800 and converted to a municipal cemetery in 1813. Its full name is now “Cimitero monumentale della Certosa di Ferrara”. Big indeed, but tiny when compared to our Zentralfriedhof in Vienna 🙂
If you look at the frontal image of Ferrara’s certosa, you see a completely symmetric architecture, with the church San Cristoforo alla Certosa at the center. This is not what it originally was though. The southern wing (to the right) has the original Certosa at its core, with the big cloister behind the church. The northern wing was added in the same style in the 19th century.
The curch was closed when we were there. It’s only open on Sunday mornings. Needless to say that also the cloister is closed due to the earthquake. We had a nice chat with a worker though, who told us a lot about the monastery’s history.