Get to know how the old monastic communities lived, alternating working in the fields with prayer, seeking out architectural and artistic masterpieces and making a profit from the sale of various local products.

The suggested itinerary enables the visitor to attain an overview of the great historical and artistic wealth of the civilization brought about by monasticism, in particular with regard to the Humiliati and Cistercian orders. These orders developed primarily in the irrigated lowlands south of Milan, with its abundance of springs and marshes.

The first stop is the Abbazia di Chiaravalle which, with its cloisters, its monastery and its residential quarters is a very well-structured complex surrounded by the greenery of the Agricolo Sud Milano park.

Also of great interest are the other impressive abbeys located south of the city: the Abbazia di Viboldone in the municipality of San Giuliano Milanese, the Abbazia di Mirasole in Opera and the Abbazia di Morimondo.

Continuing the itinerary southwards, now in the province of Pavia, we arrive at the Certosa di Pavia, built between 1396 -1473 and considered as one of the greatest masterpieces of Renaissance Lombardy art. Also belonging to the Carthusian order is the Certosa di Garegnano (Charterhouse of Garegnano) of which remain some cloisters and the church with its wealth of frescoes within.

Amongst the more minor, but still very interesting, traces of monasticism a few kilometres from Milan we can find the Comunità dei SS. Pietro e Paolo at the Cascinazza in Buccinasco, S. Maria in Calvenzano in Melegnano and, in the eastern suburbs, S. Lorenzo in Monluè.

Charterhouse of Garegnano

Founded on 19th September, 1349 by Giovanni Visconti, Lord and Archbishop of Milan, the Certosa was built far from the city to allow the monks to live and pray in silence.

Chiaravalle Abbey

The Abbey was founded in 1134 by a group of monks from the abbey of Citeaux in France. The most noted feature of the monastic complex is the tower. It is called Ciribiciaccola in Milanese dialect and the word was used in a famous tongue-twister nursery rhyme. Don't miss the cloisters, with their gothic arches, which are held up by small columns and capitals that portray men and animals.

Viboldone Abbey

Viboldone Abbey is one of the most important Mediaeval groups of buildings in Lombardy, for the remarkable architecture and for its 14th century frescoes. It is located in San Giuliano Milanese, a municipality in the province of Milan. The Abbey was founded in 1176. Today, the Abbey is used by the Community of Mother Margherita Marchi (1901-1956), comprising 33 Benedictine nuns.

Mirasole Abbey

Mirasole Abbey is located in the municipality of Opera, just south of Milan. It is one of the most interesting examples of art and civilization in the Milan area. The complex comprises agricultural buildings, the church of Santa Maria Assunta dating back to the 14th century, and the cloister, the true gem of this building, dating to the late 14th century and comprising an order of brick columns.

San Lorenzo in Monluè

Established in 1267 by the Umiliati monks and transformed into a parish church in 1584, when the order was suppressed by order of S. Charles Borromeo, the building was restored in 1877. It is one of the best examples of the organization that the Umiliati had that was devoted to agricultural production and wool processing.

Morimondo Abbey

Located in Morimondo, about 30 km from Milan bordering the territory of Pavia, lies one of the oldest Cistercian abbeys founded in Lombardy and in the whole of Italy.

Charterhouse of Pavia

A masterpiece of marble sculptures, paintings and decorations. A project born from a vow made to the Virgin Mary by Caterina Visconti, the Duke Gian Galeazzo’s wife: if she gave birth to a male she would call him Maria, along with every child, and would build a Carthusian monastery. This vow, immediately acknowledged by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, initiated the construction of the Charterhouse in the park of the castle of Pavia.

Community of SS Pietro and Paolo at the Cascinazza

In this typical Lombard farmhouse, inhabited by a male Benedictine community, daily work in the fields still takes place and beer is produced according to an ancient monastic recipe.

Santa Maria in Calvenzano

The church of Santa Maria, located near Melegnano, was founded by the Cluniac order; it is place of art and prayer dating back 1000 years.