Ferrara Charterhouse (Ferrara, Italy)

Ferrara Charterhouse (Ferrara, Italy)
Defined by six centuries of history, this stunning place has evolved from a monks' monastery to a monumental cemetery and a true open-air museum.

Cemetery history

The Ferrara Charterhouse has accompanied the most salient stages of Ferrara’s evolution, a city initially cradle of the Renaissance, then northern offshoot of the Church State during the legatizia age, and later Napoleonic centre and rearguard in the liberation process. Stages that have left their marks on this monument’s transformations over time.

The main milestones in the cemetery's history are:

  • 1438 - The Order of Carthusians’ reception in the city was proposed during the Council of Basel, which was transferred to Ferrara that year.
  • 1452 - Borso d’Este, the future first Duke of Ferrara, arranged and financed the construction of the monastery and the complex to be used by the Carthusian monks, who would settle there in 1461. Borso’s remains are still preserved in the exedra near the entrance to the First Great Cloister.
  • 1498 - Ercole I d’Este arranged for the complex to be incorporated within the Herculean Addition and entrusted the monumentalisation of the Church of San Cristoforo to the great court architect Biagio Rossetti.
  • 1799 - At the behest of Napoleon, the Charterhouse was repurposed as barracks for the cavalry and the monastery was secularised.
  • 1813 - The Carthusian complex, now owned by the Municipality, was transformed into a monumental cemetery based on the design by Ferdinando Canonici, with the contribution of Antonio Foschini, Giuseppe Campana, Leopoldo Cicognara, Giovanni Pividor, Niccolò Matas and Antonio Diedo.
  • 1962 - The Second Great Cloister, the last of a series of expansions made between the nineteenth century and the fascist era, was completed.

Cemetery significance

Ferrara, whose historic centre is now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the birthplace of numerous great figures in the fields of literature and the visual arts, who, after their lives of fame and international success, returned to their hometown to be laid to rest.

The Ferrara Chartherhous includes the graves of poets, architects, sculptors, painters, and film directors.

It also includes important religious and military points such as the terracotta Via Crucis by eclectic sculptor Ulderico Fabbri and the Memorial Chapel of the Dead by Carlo Savonuzzi built at the behest of the Municipality to commemorate the nineteenth century soldiers who died in the field and military hospitals during the First and Second World Wars.

Furthermore, the Ferrara Charterhouse holds a unique place among Ferrara’s vast range of monuments. It’s a place where memories of the past, masterpieces of sacred art, and traces of the relationship between the city and the community lie enshrined, shrouded in silence, and enveloped in an atmosphere of peaceful meditation. Visiting the Charterhouse means delving into the deepest recesses of Ferrara’s history of sculpture, architecture and urbanism.

It is also a park of over 6 hectares located in the heart of the city. An immense and peaceful green area, in which rare and extraordinarily beautiful trees and plant varieties live and grow. The perfect destination to enjoy moments of reflection in contact with nature.

Cemetery address

Via Borso 1
44121 Ferrara

Cemetery contacts

Chiara Bruschi
E-mail: chiara.bruschi@ferraratua.it
Phone: 0532 230155

Ilaria Tabellini
E-mail: ilaria.tabellini@holdingferrara.it
Phone: 0532 230155

Website: www.certosadiferrara.it

Basic data

Managing organization: Holding Ferrara Servizi S.r.l. and Ferrara Tua s.r.l
Current area: 6 ha
Approximate number of graves: 25.738
Main nationalities: Italian, American, Argentinian, Libyan, Croatian