Calci is a small town of just over 6,000 inhabitants 10 kilometers from Pisa. In the village, located in a valley called Val Graziosa (full of grace) rises a vast monumental complex known as Certosa di Calci or Certosa di Pisa.

It is a Baroque monument erected in 1366 was later expanded between the seven-teenth and eighteenth centuries. It hosted the Carthusian monks until 1972 when the Certosa became a National Museum. Today it houses 2 museums both worthy of being visited: the National Museum of the Monumental Charterhouse of Calci and the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa.

A part of the complex is considered “monumental”, is the one in which most of the monks lived, consisting of the church, the bell tower, cloisters, chapels, refectory, cells and other common areas. This is the part that houses the National Museum. Visiting it you will discover how the friars lived in the contrast between the rigor and the privations of their rules and the richness of the interiors among frescoes, chapels and cloisters.

The part considered “non-monumental” instead has had various uses: asylum, place of stay for boarder, hospital during the First World War. After a period of neglect in 1979 was granted to the University of Pisa, which in 1986 opened a Museum of Natural History.

The Museum of Natural History has a rich and interesting heritage. Of particular note:

  • the beautiful Gallery of Cetaceans, more than 100 meters of exposure with reconstructed skeletons of cetaceans, models of dolphins and whales life-size
  • the largest freshwater aquarium in Italy
  • the Palaeontology sector with dinosaur rooms with replicas of these ancient reptiles, the gallery of geological eras and the room dedicated to the history of human evolution
  • the exhibition “Grotta del Leone, the prehistory of Monte Pisano“.The museum is also periodically enriched by temporary exhibitions, from October 26, 2018 to November 3, 2019 you can admire the exhibition “Arthropoda. Journey in a microcosm” with insects, spiders and scorpions up to 3 meters large.

More information about the Natural History Museum can be found on the institute’s website: www.msn.unipi.it.

The Charterhouse of Calci