immagine Museum of Monastic Arts


Museum of Monastic Arts

The Palazzo Comunale complex houses the Museo delle Arti Monastiche ‘Le Stanze del Tempo Sosp sospeso’ (Museum of Monastic Arts ‘The Rooms of Suspended Time’), which brings together in evocative settings the artefacts of material culture that belonged to the nearby Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene. People who enter this museum are not mere visitors, but active spectators, invited to step into the shoes of various characters who are the protagonists of an audio-guided theatrical journey.


Through the recounting of small everyday events, the fundamental stages of the history of the monastery are retraced, from the 16th century to the 20th century. The recorded voices of a number of actresses accompany the visitor, for an in-depth and conscious understanding of the often unfathomable reality of the cloister. An imaginary and engaging journey through the rooms of suspended time. The theatrical journey is individual and responds to the need to preserve the intimacy of an experience that is not only cognitive but also emotional. In the room dedicated to the workshop, one can watch the projection of a video in which the nuns who lived in the monastery until a few years ago are filmed, intent on carrying out their ordinary activities.

The exhibition itinerary, characterised by direct contact with the objects presented and supplemented by an interactive and multimedia set-up, offers the visitor an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about the cloistered world with its rules and customs, discovering, through the narration of the history of the monastery, a temporal dimension that naturally expands towards infinity.

The exhibits were found in the rooms of the Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene, which has maintained its original location next to the museum since 1586. Ceramics, kitchen utensils, glass containers for the apothecary’s shop, as well as embroidery, bobbin lace and ornamental designs for sacred vestments, have survived the ups and downs of the monastery, at times retaining that special aspect of endlessness that characterises them.

The objects were left in the ‘suspended time rooms’, arranged in boxes, cupboards and chests as if to be taken up and completed. The suspension of manual activity is characteristic of monastic life, where work is very important, but never overrides the time for prayer and meditation. The materials on display have been chosen on the basis of evidence found in the monastic Offices (the specific tasks assigned to each member of the community) and the ancient inventories that the nuns drew up during pastoral visits. The objects were used over a long period of time, sometimes to the point of consumption, and in some cases were used for a purpose other than the original one. They were later shelved either because of the introduction of more technically advanced products on the market or because of the sisters’ lack of specific skills, as was the case with ceroplasty, for example. While some activities, although no longer practised, are still remembered among the older sisters, others have been lost.

Walking through the rooms of the museum, one perceives the dimension of an everyday life that has as its backdrop the subdued voices of the nuns, their singing, their prayers, the footsteps in the corridors, the beating of the bobbins in the looms, the clatter of the dishes, the ringing of the bell and… the silence, which preludes the joyful resumption of activities. The Poor Clares have animated the spiritual and cultural life of the town for centuries, representing an important reference point not only in the most difficult historical moments. Awareness of the historical and religious value of the Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene is still very much alive today, and can be perceived walking through the alleys of Serra de’ Conti.

  • location WHERE

  • calendar OPENING TIME

    Dal Martedì alla Domenica dalle 10.30-12.30/16.30-19.30

  • ticketPRICE

    The Museum is open every day, except non-holiday Mondays, with the following opening hours:
    Morning 10:30 – 12:30
    Afternoon 16:30 – 19:30

    Full price ticket: € 3.50
    Reduced price tickets: € 3.00
    for groups of a minimum of 15 people (booking required),
    for those over 60 years of age
    Reduced tickets: € 2.50
    for school groups
    for under 18s
    Family ticket: € 8.00
    Admission for children under 6 is free of charge

    Tel. +39 0731.871739 / +39 329.2297331




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