by Francesco Querusti, ph. Alessia Romagnoli
In the midst of faith, art and culture
A magical, enchanted place, hugely fascinating, going back in time. This is the majestic monumental complex of la Certosa, located on top of Monte Acuto, also called Monte Santo, a cone-shaped hill near the residential area of Galluzzo, a town south of Florence. The monastery was desired by Niccolò Acciaioli (1310-1365) an important person on the political and financial scene of the 1300s, belonging to one of the richest banking families in Florence. In January 2018, the San Leolino Community took over la Certosa and obtained the authorization for the care and maintenance of the historic complex from the Archdiocese of Florence, who in turn got it from the State, owner of the monastery. La Certosa has thus a third life: first with the Carthusian monks who were there from 1343, the year of its foundation then the Cistercians from 1958 and now the San Leolino Community. The present commitment is to enhance the religious, cultural and artistic aspects even more, opening the doors of la Certosa to the public. Great importance is now given to the celebration of mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, to meditation, conventions and other spiritual activities. The present regent is Don Bernardo Artusi, with the collaboration of Carlo Fiaschi and the other members of the Community. At the moment the number of the daily guided tours has been increased, lasting one hour, in search of the secrets of la Certosa. Some of the objectives are to increase the areas to be visited also opening the Chapel of the Relics to the public, the Crypt with the tombs of the founder Niccolò Acciaioli and his family and the papal quarters. Palazzo Acciaioli is the ideal place for the picture gallery and to hold the frescos of the Passion of Christ made by Jacopo da Pontormo who was hosted at la Certosa from 1523 to 1526 to escape from the plague which hit Florence. The monastic church, as well as for guided tours, is also available for weddings with lots of room also for receptions. It mustn’t be forgotten that what the San Leolino Community aims for is the opening of all the premises, restoring their functions, especially the cells of the Carthusian monks. The purpose is to use them for spiritual retreats for nuns and priests. The work carried out by voluntary workers has been very important, such as the Amici della Certosa Association, active there since 1970. One of the prides of the monastery of la Certosa is the creation of natural products made from herbs both infused and distilled such as liquors, jams, perfumes, herbal remedies, pottery, extra virgin olive oil, all craft made and produced locally thanks to the effort of Valerio Bonechi who has been working there as a voluntary worker for the last 60 years with great enthusiasm and ability for the creation of such excellent products.