The first Certosa (Carthusian monastery) was establishd in 1090, when Saint Bruno went to Calabria. The ground where it was possible to built the Certosa was given as a generous present by the Count Roger II of Sicily. These places were ideal for divine contemplation, loneliness and silence, fundamental elements to live as hermits (desertum).
Here St. Bruno founded the Santa Maria del Bosco hermitage, and only 2 km far from it, where the present Certosa is situated, he established the S. Stefano monastery.
Nevertheless, on the 7th February 1783, a terrible earthquake stopped everything and destroyed the Certosa. Of the old Certosa only a few traces remain: the Chapter hall, the dining hall, the ruins of the Certosa and the cloister of the attorneys. With a majestic granite fountain of the 17th century, the towers built in 1534 and the walls, a Museum of the Certosa - attached to the still functioning and therefore inaccessible Certosa - was built to collect the testimonies about the difficult facts of this place. In 1900 the new Certosa was built, where still today the Carthusians live.
Following the main road, about 2km from the Certosa, there is the Santa Maria del Bosco Regional Sanctuary, within the wonderful silver fir forest of the same name. Here visitors will find the artificial lake with the statue of St. Bruno in it, represented on his knees while praying. The small lake was created by the inhabitants of Serra as a testimony to the hard penances the Saint subjected himself to. The small lake is made of granite, with water spurting from a recess of 1645. A small bridge on the left leads to a stone fountain dating back to 1190. Beyond the large stone steps one reaches the Santa Maria del Bosco Regional Sanctuary.
The entrance consists of a simple granite gate with a semi-circular arch on the top of it, in a niche on the top of the façade a half-length of St. Bruno is placed.
The interior keeps an altar built with two marble Carthusian coats of arms and a wooden statue of the Madonna of the 19th century.
Opposite there is a "dormitory" (cell of the Saint where he was buried for the first time), where the bones of the Saint - who slept and prayed here - have been entombed.
In a cave dug in the stone there is a wonderful marble statue representing St. Bruno, sculpted by Stefano Pisani in the late 18th century.
For further information and visits: www.museocertosa.org - Museo della Certosa - C.da Certosa, 1 - 89822 Serra San Bruno (VV); Ph. +39 0963 70608