The Camaldolese are part of the great Benedictine family founded by Saint Benedict in the sixth century. The Camoldolese branch was established through the reforming efforts of the eleventh century Italian monk Saint Romuald. His reform sought to revitalize the best of the communal and solitary dimensions of monastic life. Nearly a thousand years ago, Saint Romuald founded the Hermitage of Camaldoli high in the mountains of central Italy. There are Camaldolese hermitages and monasteries up and down Italy. The most ancient is the urban monastery of Saint Gregory the Great in the heart of Rome.
The Camaldolese are also in Poland, France, India, Brazil, and Tanzania. The Camaldolese Benedictine life was brought to the United States in 1958, with the founding of New Camaldoli Hermitage in the Santa Lucia mountains of Big Sur, California. Since then, the Hermitage has developed into an established expression of the contemplative and eremitical dimension of monastic life. An urban house in Berkeley, CA, Incarnation Monastery, also serves as a house of studies. A community of women, Transfiguration Monastery, is located in Windsor, NY.