Not quite as high on the Vomero hill as the Castel Sant'Elmo is the Certosa di San Martino, a Carthusian monastery that was originally
established in the 14th Century. The Carthusians, also known as the Order of St. Bruno, have been a monastic order since the 11th
Century. Their practice has been for members to lead a hermitlike existence, living in isolated quarters and only infrequently encountering
other people, even within the order. Though the order is not as popular as it once was, there are still a number of Carthusian monasteries
(known in English as charterhouses) scattered around the world. The Certosa di San Martino is a monastery no longer, having been
deconsecrated by the French in 1806. It has been open to the public as a museum since 1866.
The monastery is extensive, with a church and two cloisters, one of which is very large. Like the castle, it was not hard to find, as there
was a nice view of it from the castle wall.
On exiting the castle grounds the same way we’d entered, we just turned right and found the monastery entrance at the end of the road. They
accepted the ArteCard too, but we did have to pay the half price.
Via Tito Angelini Toward Monastery Entrance
Monastery Entrance and Soccer Practice
Just across a courtyard from the entrance is the church. The church underwent changes through the centuries and now has extensive baroque decorations,
as well as nicely decorated subsidiary rooms connected to it.
The cloisters are also embellished, though the elements have taken a toll and they could use some fixing up. The larger cloister is the site
of the monks’ graveyard, which is located in a corner and is surrounded by a balustrade topped by marble skulls, presumably to graphically
designate the area's purpose, and possibly to remind the monks of their mortality.
In its capacity as a museum, the Certosa also displays Neapolitan artworks and historical pieces, some of which (like carriages and boats)
are very sizable.
There is also an impressive collection of elaborate nativity scenes.