Throughout the Italian peninsula, medieval monasteries, built like fortresses, have defended civilization, sheltered pilgrims and celebrated the grandeur of aristocratic dynasties. Then there are Renaissance and Baroque monasteries, as well as modern buildings reflecting the recent monastic revival. This book leads the reader along a journey that includes stops at Novalesa, Camaldoli, La Verna, Subiaco, Praglia, Rosano, Campello and Grottaferrata. The historical and contemporary venues of Italian monasticism reveal a dynamic and authentic spiritual life. Monasteries exert a strong appeal, based on environments conducive to meditation and the promise of inner elevation; sometimes, for instance at Bose, they even attract people who are not religiously engaged. Today’s monasteries continue, as they have for centuries, to provide us with the experience of silence, influenced by a thoughtful use of space and an organization of time shaped by millenary rhythms.
Lucetta Scaraffia formerly taught Contemporary History at “La Sapienza” University in Rome.