Certosa di Pavia (chārtôˈzä dē pävēˈä) [key], former Carthusian abbey of Pavia. One of the most magnificent of all monastic structures, it has been maintained as a national monument since 1866. The church, forming its nucleus, was begun in the style of the Italian Gothic in 1396 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, duke of Milan. Little more than the nave was executed in this style, since the Renaissance, diffusing its new taste, quickly dominated the design of the edifice. The facade seems to have been begun in 1491 by a group of architects and sculptors under the leadership of Giovanni Antonio Amadeo; it was finished in the mid-16th cent. Built of rich marbles and profusely ornamented with fine sculptural decorations, the facade is one of the masterpieces of Renaissance decorative design. The two large arcaded cloisters are of richly ornamented terra-cotta. The main choir was badly damaged in World War II but was restored between 1953 and 1959.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.