The construction of Certosa del Galluzzo began in 1341 at the behest of Niccolò Acciaiuoli, grew and prospered following his death, and was suppressed during the Napolonic occupation, during which the monastery was sacked and more than 500 artworks disappeared (only some have been recovered).
The monastery has hosted the Cistercians since 1958.
A visit to La Certosa begins with Palazzo Degli Studi, where Niccolò Acciauoli welcomed young Florentines who wanted to study the liberal arts (following his death the program was interrupted). The building is singularly beautiful, with stone facing dating to Niccolò's time; the present roof and the battlements were added later.
The second floor of the building now hosts a picture gallery with flying arches and huge windows that give it a wonderful airiness; among the most important works are five frescoed lunettes by Pontormo that were once in the cloister.
The courtyard has a church dedicated to San Lorenzo, with a Pietra Serena façade (Pietra Serena is a fine-grained dark gray limestone) perhaps by G. Fancelli (1546). The belfry dates to the 18th century.
The interior is divided into two parts, the fist of which now serves as a vestibule. There are several chapels below ground, including one dedicated to Saint Andrew, in the form of a Greek cross with a vaulted ceiling; it has the tomb of Cardinal Agnolo II Acciaiuoli, which is attributed to Donatello but is more likely by Francesco da Sangallo (XVI Century).
The monastery proper begins with the Parlour (where the monks could gather to talk), with a glazed terracotta crucifixion by Giovanni Della Robbia. The large cloister, a remarkably pure Renaissance construction, has majolica statues by Andrea and Giovanni Della Robbia.
The porticos had frescos by Pontormo that are now in the picture gallery. The second cloister dates to the 1500s, whereas the smaller one is in Brunelleschian style.
Opening hours: April - October: 9.00 - 11.30 a.m/3.00 - 5.30 p.m. November - March: 9.00 - 12.00 a.m/3.00 - 5.00 p.m