The Florence Charterhouse, or certosa, is located in the south of Florence, on the top of a hill, and in the past, it was one of the most powerful monasteries in Europe, housing hundreds of religious figures; before Napoleon’s invasion, around 500 works of art were kept there.
The construction of the building is owed to Niccolò Acciaioli, a very powerful Florentine citizen who decided to build it in 1341not only to serve as a centre for monks but also as a school for young people. Outside the convent, there is Palazzo Acciaioli, a crenelated building that welcomes young people and steers them towards the sciences. There used to be a vast library here.
Among the important parts of this monastery is the church dedicated to San Lorenzo, with typically Mannerist architecture, full of frescoes and paintings with a lavish marble altar from the 16th century and a crypt which keeps many historic tombs, mostly belonging to the Acciaoli family. From the church you can reach the large Renaissance cloister, adorned with a big well and pottery by Andrea and Giovanni della Robbia(15th-16th century), which opens onto the cells, some of which can still be visited. Each cell is made up of a bedroom and a room for praying, both austerely furnished and overlooking an isolated garden. From this cloister you can access what is called the Conversi, a small area consisting of two overlaid loggias, and from here you can access the refectory.
In the large cloister, there used to be the five lunettes painted by Pontormo between 1522 and 1525 depicting the Passion of the Christ: they were removed due to their deteriorated condition, but they can now be seen – along with a substantial collection of 14th-18th-century works of art – in the monastery’s art gallery.