view from the church and palazzo courtyard.
Today, many visitors come to see the frescoes and other artwork in the old pharmacy, but as well as being a retreat house for seminarians the monastery serves the local people of the Collepardo area and there are services in the adjoining church. On the day we were there a baptism was taking place. There's also an ancient ecclesiastical palace, a library of antiquarian books and a collection of the types of herbs used in medicinal remedies and alpine plants that can be found in the Abruzzi mountains. The monastery shop sells liqueurs, herbal preparations, honey, chocolate, literature and souvenirs similar to those at the sister Casamari Abbey.
Visitors enter the monastery through the towered Tuscan-style portico with its marble plaque in relief of St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of the Certosa.
Many of the frescoes in the monastery were painted by Filippo Balbi (1806-1890). The one over the inner door of the entrance portico depicts the Virgin and Child giving the bread of providence to a monk and others hand provisions to children.
Mr. P. rested on the steps of the pharmacy and I went inside. The light was variable so the results of my photographic efforts are mixed.
The top frescoes are the more well known ones. On the top left is a painted door depicting, I believe, F. Balbi's serving boy and the other is a caricature of 'poverty' and 'egotism'.
In the salon/waiting room every wall is covered in paintings and over the two arched doors are those depicting events in the life of Balbi.
There are other paintings in the hall decorated with 3D artificial tropical trees, poetic sayings and a long cased clock with a face that has eyes that must have moved from side to side when it was working. I remember years ago there was a huge stuffed eagle at the end of the corridor and a live one in a cage in the grounds, but probably something that the community wouldn't want to display or keep these days.
This is the pharmacy with its original cases of medicine jars and bottles. Even the doors and window shutters are beautifully painted.
As you can imagine, the collages represent only some of the details in the old pharmacy and there are other areas of the monastery complex also of interest. Finally, we visited the monastery shop to buy some gifts for my husband's family such as this herbal digestive drink.