19 Jul 2013

Italy: higher up in the mountains: Certosa Di Trisulti (1)

As you know, our Italian house is situated in a mountainous region in South Lazio. This photo was taken years ago before I had a digital camera so it looks rather like a retro postcard!  It's the Collepardo area where we go for picnics in the Summertime.  There are interesting caves to visit and Trisulti Monastery is in this area.

On the first weekend of our time in Italy we drove up to Trisulti hoping to get some good photos of the mountains on the way - very difficult when the road is a winding one with few places to stop safely as you go higher and it follows the natural line of a deep gorge.

These first photos are near home, the last looking back towards where we live.  This area is mostly shepherding country and a few decades ago the only buildings were shepherds' dwellings. With the improved access on the main tracks many have been upgraded so there are modern homesteads and we noticed many had started building thick stone boundary walls. Landslides can occur during sudden heavy rain storms.
It's also land suitable for growing olive trees and producing olive oil.  We were given a large can of the local olive oil by a relative of a relative in exchange for some of our white wine that had gone to vinegar.  Sadly it was much to heavy and impossible to transport back to England by plane, but has been stored in the cool of the canteen for future use when we are in Italy.

This photo doesn't really convey how high up we were, but as you can see it's a popular area for serious cycle training and must be exhilarating going down hill!

This area opens up at the side of the gorge and is a popular place to camp or come for the day for a family picnic. You can climb up a track though the woods to the source of the river which, of course, is only a mountain stream in this lovely, shady spot.

Below is a glimpse of the Certosa di Trisulti from across the gorge and before you get to the camping/picnic area where the road goes right down into the ravine and then up again towards the monastery area. The road is quite narrow and there are no barriers.  Beyond the brown grassy edge is a drop into the gorge.

Because of its inaccessibility - my husband explained that once there was just a rough track to it -   it was and is still is used as a retreat place to test a religious vocation, and also attracts visitors because it has become well-known for its ancient pharmacy with its beautiful and unusual wall paintings. Also, imagine trying to build in this remote area!

The area is covered in oak, sweet chestnut and beech woods with some pine.  We have always been fascinated by this oak tree near the monastery clinging to the edge of the gorge and half dead and half alive. We've passed the interest in it onto our children and grandchildren who always want to walk along the track to take a look at it.  Fortunately there's a barrier at this point!

We spent a while in the monastery and grounds before getting some water from the fountain. There a few of these fountains in the area where folk come to fill up bottles and jars with mineral water to take
home.  More about the Charterhouse another time, but as we went for a light lunch in the restaurant attached to it I will finish off this post with a look around the rustic-style Trisulti Ristorante.

Did you notice the yucca plant?

I always feel that I'm going back in time and to the era when we came here first in the 1970s. We had a delicious lunch of cannelloni made with fresh pasta and Mr. P. had mixed roasted meats and salad.

This was an extra taster dish presented to us of mozzarella filled with chopped up pieces of salami and rocket leaves.

                                       Monastery entrance door

Next time we can take a stroll around the monastery gardens and courtyards and take a look at the famous pharmacy murals (I was delighted to find that this year it was possible to take photos of the paintings for the first time.


  1. What a beautiful area. You must really enjoy your time in Italy.

  2. Ah you've done it again Linda. Italy is my favourite place to visit and I'm so looking forward to when we can get there again. Maybe this year if I'm lucky. How lovely that you can split your time between two homes, it looks beautiful.
    Patricia x

  3. Those views are absolutely stunning....you LUCKY LUCKY thing. The monastry is right up my street too!xxxx

  4. I love Italy - what a lucky lady you are - Derbyshire and Italy - great choices.

  5. love the scenery, and the funny thing is , my favorite two photos are the old dead tree. love it. and the fountain is beautiful. I also like the three pics in a row of the water falling and the bridges. so beautiful.. lovely country you live in

  6. Fabulous views Linda, great photos all of them.

  7. Gorgeous vistas!
    I imagine the air up there is always a little fresher than down in the valley.

    Best wishes,

  8. Beautiful post, Linda... Wow---that monastery is gorgeous--and really is HIGH up in the mountains.. Bet that water is delicious.... I love driving in the mountains. It's probably my favorite thing to do--especially when we are searching for waterfalls. ha....

    Thanks for sharing that beautiful area of Italy.


  9. The photo of the first glimpse of the monastery is just beautiful. You have some wonderful scenery around you.

  10. Hi Linda,

    How wonderful to see some of your photos of Italy and the spectacular views of the countryside and the olive trees.
    The monastery is a lovely old building and I love the old door - such a great patina and colour.
    The mozzarella filled with the rocket and salami looks so good.

    Happy weekend

  11. This looks totally wonderful. Your photos really make me want to be there. Glad to have you back home though Linda xxxxx

  12. It all looks so beautiful and the monastery looks so peaceful, how lucky you are to spend time in such a lovely area. The restaurant looks wonderful too:)

  13. It is just gorgeous here. How I wish I could visit.
    The mozzarella roll looks delicious. Oh I am wanting to travel.

  14. Your photographs are amazing. How much of your time do you spend in Italy? I'm guessing you divide your time between Italy and England? You're so blessed! Have you seen the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun"? The photos remind me of that movie. And too bad you couldn't get that olive oil back home! I use olive oil for many things, not just cooking... I love it on my skin too!
    Have a great rest of your weekend,
    Much love,

  15. Thank you so much for this little tour through the uplands and it's truly a miracle that they built the monastery in this remote area. But that's what the monks were often about...removed. Loved the little ristorante and can see why you love to stop there. The lunch sounded divine, especially the complementary rolls! salami and rocket leaves :)

  16. AnonymousJuly 22, 2013

    All of your pictures are so beautiful. You might be interested to know that your mozzarella pinwheels are also popular here in California. Many delicatessans and gourmet grocers carry these rolls. I like to buy them around Christmas time for hors d’oeuvres.

  17. A wonderful post, Linda. You really capture the magic of the Italian landscape and the monastery is fantastic.

  18. How fun to travel along with you! What are rocket leaves, Linda?