The essay explores the characteristics and themes of architecture related to Benedictine monastic life in the territories of Cilento and Vallo di Diano. The influences coming from the East and from beyond the Alps are adapted to local traditions without imitating early Christian models, as happens in other areas of Campania. The classical Greek elements acquire greater importance than the Roman universe. The previous buildings adapt to the western world and create heterogeneous hybrids that cannot be easily classified. The Carthusians introduce models that are consistent with a new formulation of the concept of the ideal city. The essay aims to analyze specifically the Certosa di Padula, in the heart of the Vallo di Diano, from the act of its foundation at the beginning of the fourteenth century until the impressive renovations during the eighteenth century. The monastic complex does not present itself as a safe haven from the perils of the world but becomes a spiritual place, the anticipation of Paradise on earth. On the one hand, respect for the strict rule of San Brunone and, on the other, constant interaction with the surrounding territory. The monastery constitutes a new type of polis. An ideality regulated by a rigid separation of the cloistered environments intended for the contemplation of the monks and those dedicated to community life. The boundary between the hermit's life in the upper domus and the cenobitic life in the lower domus is marked by the desertum, the large cultivated green space that gives access to the Civitas Dei, announced by the cartouche of the threshold "Felix coeli porta". The architectural structure of the Certosa di Padula, born on the basis of the models of Trisulti in Lazio and the motherhouse of Grenoble, reflects and embodies that ideal mystical city as declined by Thomas More who saw in monastic customs the foundation of Utopia.
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