Sunday, April 10, 2011

Posted . . .

. . . a bit late

But on April 3, Mrs. B and I drove to Vomero to tour the Certosa di San Martino.

The Carthusian order, or order of St. Bruno of Cologne, was founded in 1038. The Carthusians did not follow the rules of the Order of St. Benedict (Benedictines), but rather had their own rules called Statutes. This particular monestary, or more properly hermitage, was built in 1368 and dedicated to St. Martin of Tours (316 - 397 AD).

The drive was interesting, primarily because it was through the downtown streets of old naples to the top of Vomero hill.

It was made interesting because my guide, the sometimes reliable Ms. Garmin, was off her game that day. She kept telling me to turn AFTER I entered an intersection rather than before. Between Ms. Garmin calling the wrong turns and the transit strike filling Napoli with thousands of extra cars and scooters, the drive took longer than the tour of the monastery.

The Carthusians, who spent most of their time in their cells writing and praying, were noted for their patience and craftsmanshop.

I believe the photographs below bear that out.

The altar and surrounding room are crafted mostly from marble, with inlays and joinery that would baffle a master woodworker. The patience necessary to work marble with this amount of precision is incomprehensible to me.

What appears to be a quiet garden in the cloister is a burial ground for the monks. True to their ascetic lifestile, there are no grave markers. The carved stone skulls on the surrounding wall are a reminder of its real purpose.

Another view of the altar showing the frescoes and giltwork in the vaulted ceiling.