The Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Certosa

It was established in 1349 in the village of Garegnano, about four kilometres from the historic centre of the city, by Giovanni Visconti, the Archbishop of Milan.
The centuries that followed the foundation of the church were turbulent. It served as a refuge for pilgrims and wanderers in the Bosco della Merlata area, which was overrun by bandits, but it also came under attack and was damaged.


In 1357 it was given the honour of hosting Francesco Petrarca who called it both “beautiful and noble”.
Its greatest artistic period was between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when two famous artists were commissioned to paint this single naved church. Paintings by Simone Peterzano (a pupil of Tiziano’s and Caravaggio’s teacher) in the chancel and the apse, along with Daniele Crespi’s frescoes throughout the nave and the barrel vaults, created a unique and spectacular attraction.
The monastery defies the passing of the centuries by maintaining its charm both as a holy place as well as a centrepiece of art.
The church is still accessed through the Alms Courtyard and the Courtyard of Honour, which was once reserved only for the most distinguished people. Unfortunately, between the end of the eighteenth century and the start of the nineteenth century, the monastery was partly demolished, part of it was sold to private buyers and part of it assigned as a warehouse for gunpowder. Of the original building, only the church, the guesthouse cloister, part of the small cloister, the chapter house and the refectory remain, the latter having been converted into a chapel by the Franciscan nuns.