The Charterhouse of Saints Stephen and Bruno is one of the few still active Charterhouse monasteries in Italy. It was founded by St. Bruno of Cologne in 1091, following the donation of the land by Roger de Hauteville. The first foundation fell in the site called "Tower", at 790 m above sea level, from which the original name of "Hermitage of St. Mary of Tower, or the Forest". Otherwise than in Grenoble, the site of the founding of the Order, the cells of the hermits (wooden and mud huts) were distributed around the nucleus of the monastic church: a small masonry building. In a second step, Bruno organized the monks into two groups: the Fathers, in the clearing of the forest, and the Brothers lay about two miles away, in the Monastery of Saints Stephen. The "Bottom House" of St. Stephen took the scheme of a cenobitic community on the model of the Benedictine abbeys: between 1192 and 1411 were built the wall, the cloister, the refectory, the Chapter, the dormitory, the dispensary and other services. Seriously damaged by numerous earthquakes (in particular from that of 1783), the Charterhouse was reduced to a pile of rubble, to be rebuilt in 1889. The new design was marked by the revival of the Romanesque and Baroque repertoire: over six years were brought to completion the new monastic church, private chapels, the great cloister, the 14 cells of the fathers, the clock tower to replace the old bell tower, the guest quarters, places of prayer and encounter, the prosecutor and others services (stables and deposits). At the same time, the sixteenth existing buildings were renovated: the Refectory, the Chapter Hall, the Library and the Chapel of the relics. The Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno is tied countless legends and traditions: the writer Leonardo Sciascia speculated that here took refuge the physicist Ettore Majorana, student of Enrico Fermi, who disappeared in 1938 under mysterious circumstances. Here stayed certainly Lennann Leroy, American veteran of the Korean War, identified with the pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The Charterhouse was visited by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
* Tonino Ceravolo, Antonio Zaffino (a cura di), La Certosa dei Santi Stefano e Bruno. Storia Spiritualità Arte Architettura, 2003.