MONASTERY COMPLEX OF SAN BERNARDINO
The monastery complex is named after the saint who, on his short stay in town in 1419, managed to have the people of Caravaggio and the people of Treviglio, who were long-time foes, come to an understanding. The complex including an adjoining church, a porticoed cloister and other buildings was built to commemorate the episode approximately 70 years later, at the end of the 1400s. The monastery complex overlooks viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, at short distance from the historic centre. A great many structural modifications, adjustments and transfers of ownership characterized the ancient monastery’s history.
In the 1970s, the complex was converted to Caravaggio Civic and Cultural Centre. The ancient scriptorium, or the room devoted to the writing and copying of manuscripts, and the friars’ cells house today a civic library named after Father Felice Banfi, whereas the ancient refectory serves as auditorium and temporary exhibitions hall. Other rooms have been made available to local voluntary associations for gathering and another part of the complex houses the Dr. Eng. Ottorino Zibetti Naval Museum. Below is a description of the museum written by Ottorino Pellegri, expert in local history
The monastery complex encompasses the church of San Bernardino with its outstanding features on the inside. The nave is adorned in beautiful frescoes from the 15h and 16th centuries whereas the chancel frescoes date back to the 18th century. A 1531 Cycle of Passion, by local painter Fermo Stella, covers the roughly 80-square-metre-broad (860.8 square feet) partition behind the altar. The Cycle depicts five episodes from the Passion of Jesus. There are three side chapels and two small, richly decorated chapels behind the chancel partition. The church’s splendid frescoes have been newly restored.
For further information about the frescoes conservation works and “Art Bonus”, the tax credit for the protection of Italy’s cultural heritage, please visit the specific web page
Location and visitor information
The cloister and other parts of the complex are open to the public during the library opening hours. The church is open to the public on special occasions, religious ceremonies and for guided tours alone for safety reasons.
Location: viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, 17, approximately 2 km (1.24 mi) from the A35 Brebemi motorway exit, within short walking distance from Caravaggio train station. The nearest parking spaces are the station car park or the car park in Largo Donatori di Sangue.
For information and for planning group visits please contact the Cultural Office (Ufficio Cultura) at firstname.lastname@example.org or at +39 0363 356211.