Serra San Bruno is surrounded by the lush forest of the Serre Mountains in the Province of Vibo Valentia. The town is named after Saint Bruno of Cologne, a monk who founded the Carthusian Order. In 1091, searching for a place of solitude, he built a monastery immersed in the rich natural beauty of the territory that is now known as Serra San Bruno. The town grew from it and is a wonderful place to visit, especially for those who enjoy nature and tranquility.

Serra San Bruno is a great choice for a day trip if you are visiting the provinces of Catanzaro or Vibo Valentia, and here are some things you’ll definitely want to do when you go:

Admire the Intricate Details of the Maria SS. Dei Sette Dolori Church.

This late Baroque-style church located in the old town was built in 1721. The façade is made from blocks of granite that frame a beautiful bronze door depicting the “Seven Sorrows of Mary”. Enter the church to find ancient marble floors and elegant high vaulted ceilings. Admire the large square altar made of marble and embellished with natural stone, silver, and bronze. You’ll also notice that instead of the traditional wooden pews often found in churches, there are armchairs.

See How the Monks Live

Visit the Carthusian monastery La Certosa di Serra San Bruno, founded by St. Bruno in 1091. Located in the woods to the south, the actual monastery isn’t open to the public but visitors can go to the museum to get a feel for what life in a monastery is like. The silent stillness, melodic songs, and perfumes are peaceful. The museum is made up of 22 rooms rich with information describing the customs of the monastic life of the Carthusian monks. At the end of the tour, there is a small chapel that was once an ancient 16th-century tower.

Zen Out at the Santuario di Santa Maria nel Bosco

Enjoy a walk through the woods rich with fir, beech, and pine trees and see the peaceful Santuario di Santa Maria nel Bosco (the Sanctuary of St. Mary in the Woods) where St. Bruno spent the last years of his life and was laid to rest after his death in 1101. Although the current church was rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1783, the original foundations of the church date back to the end of the 11th century. Here you will find a beautiful and serene pond called Il Laghetto which is believed to be a place where several extraordinary events occurred.

Image Credits: Jacopo Werther, Mario