Charterhouse Monastery and National Museum History
Be prepared to be amazed and surprised by this incredible historical building which lies at the end of a lane close to the small town of Calci approximately 10 kilometers from the City of Pisa and just 15 minutes from our base in Vicopisano. A glimpse through the cypress trees will reveal what lies ahead as you witness a magnificent Baroque building that houses both the Natural History Museum and the Carthusian Monastery of Pisa appear before your very eyes.
The building is known as the Charterhouse of Pisa, or the Certosa di Calci was once a beautiful monastery founded in 1366 by a group of Carthusian monks. It has been adapted and enlarged between the 17th and 18th Centuries and what you see today is a beautiful baroque monument. This stunning building was once the home to just 15 monks who lived their lives in silence within this beautiful complex of chapels, cloisters, gardens, and living quarters. The last remaining monks left here in 1972.
To visit this amazing monastery guided tours take place at certain times of the day and last about an hour. The tours are conducted only in Italian but you may be lucky enough to enjoy a bi-lingual tour guide as we have done so in the past. To be honest, even if you don’t have a bi-lingual guide it hardly matters- be prepared for a visual jaw-dropping experience – who needs words!!!!
Also housed in this vast building is the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa which dates back to the late 16th Century and has its origins in the gallery attached to the botanical gardens which were founded by Ferdinando I dei Medici. The museum has both permanent and temporary exhibitions ranging from the origins of man through to mineral, cetaceans, dinosaur, and predator galleries. There is also a fascinating exhibition of the evolution of the territory of the Monte Pisano recreating 500 million years of travel along with some mind-boggling facts. There is also an incredible 500 square meter aquarium with over 60.000 liters of water making this the greatest freshwater Aquaria in Italy.