Certosa di San Lorenzo

Salerno & the Cilento

A giant among monasteries, even by Italian standards, the Certosa di San Lorenzo dates from 1306 and covers 250,000 sq metres. Numerologists can get a kick out of ticking off the supposed 320 rooms and halls, 2500m of corridors, galleries and hallways, 300 columns, 500 doors, 550 windows, 13 courtyards, 100 fireplaces, 52 stairways and 41 fountains – in other words, it is huge. The monastery is just outside the hillside town of Padula.

As it is unlikely that you will have time to see everything, be sure to visit the highlights, including the vast central courtyard (a venue for summer classical-music concerts), the magnificent wood-panelled library, frescoed chapels, and the kitchen with its grandiose fireplace and famous tale: apparently this is where the legendary 1000-egg omelette was made in 1534 for Charles V's passing army. Unfortunately, the historic frying pan is not on view – just how big was it, one wonders.

Within the monastery you can also peruse the modest collection of ancient artefacts at the Museo Archeologico Provinciale della Lucania Occidentale.

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