Collegio del Cambio: Perugino’s fashionable frescoes in Perugia

It was a great plan, in theory.  We’d get up early in Arezzo, take a train to Perugia, stop in Perugia for a few hours to view Perugino’s frescoes and then continue by bus to Gubbio.  Here’s what happened: we took a train from Arezzo to Perugia, stopped in Perugia for a few hours, and caught a bus to Gubbio all while it rained so unbelievably, apocalyptically hard we were expecting Noah to cruise by and wave at us from his giant yacht full of twin animals.

So anyway, we made it to Perugia in semi-drowned state, where the kind-hearted staff at the tourist office volunteered to hold our waterlogged backpacks.  We squish squished our way into the rooms of Collegio del Cambio, former home of Perugia’s Exchange Guild.

(As no photography was allowed, all images of the frescoes are from Web Gallery of Art.)


Imagine it’s 1498 and this is your office.  You’re thinking “Oh hey, got an office suite for the money changers here, maybe I should hire Pietro Perugino to fresco it up with a mixture of the personification of virtues, famous men of antiquity and a few random religious scenes.”  OMG THE RENAISSANCE: this I why I love it.


Self-portrait of the artist, Pietro Perugino, flaunting his butt chin and an artist statement that would no doubt be fascinating if I could read Latin.


God and Moses are showing off the latest trend in bifurcated beards.  All the prophets and sibyls are posing like an art history professor just rushed the scene shouting “Okay, I want everyone in a contrapposto stance, good… good, and now wrap yourself with a prophecy banner Miss America style.  Well done!  You getting all this Perugino?”


17 year old Raphael assisted with the frescoes and modeled for the pretty prophet in the tricorne hat.


Personification of the cardinal virtues float on clouds over a high-fashion line up of famous men of antiquity.  The figure of Fortitude, floating upper left in a yellow skirt, is attributed to Raphael.


They wore f-ing amazeballs hats, these famous men of antiquity.


More floating Cardinal virtues, accompanied by cherubs toting elaborate plaques, over the heads of still more famous dudes of antiquity.


A rather well fed baby Jesus.


The Jazz Hands Transfiguration.



Perugia is one big hill and to get around without killing your knees you can take the adorable Minimetrò. The heavy rain prevented us from getting a decent picture, but they are cute little cars that whisk you silently along.


Our Minimetrò warned us (in English!) not to trip over dog leashes.


Fontana Maggiore, a 13th century fountain by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano.


Interior of Perugia’s town hall: decorative medieval murals and powder blue early 80’s conference chairs.


How we got to Perugia: train from Arezzo.

Where we slept: Camere Annalisa Martini.  Price: €42 for a double.  Recommended: yes.


  1. Some of those poses are amazing…especially when combined with the headgear!
    I rather like the fact that the town hall caretakers are so accustomed to its murals that it doesn’t occur to them not to furnish it with those chairs…and the minimetro must be a Godsend: I remember a friend visiting Perugia years back and thinking that she was about to have a heart attack as she puffed her way up the steep inclines on a sunny day.


  2. Perugino is a strange artist isn’t he? I admire his work a great deal, but then all those extreme poses and prissy faces make me giggle.


  3. “Amazeballs” – I have to remember this. And the Jazz Hands Transfiguration needs to be set to music. Wonderful!


    1. Hmmmm…maybe “All that jazz” as a soundtrack?


  4. I just love your posts.


    1. Thank you Cheryll–I’m fond of yours too!


  5. Gotta say I let out very ungraceful laughter everytime I read your picture captions, hahaha!
    Oh! So Raphael was Perugino’s assistant…. this is new info for me (even though I’m an architect, it’s sad how much of a noob I am in classic art haha)
    Wonderful frescoes! Thank you for sharing 😀


    1. Ungraceful laughter is the best sort!


  6. Hah, I once spent a day in Perugia in the pouring rain – I know exactly the nearly-drowned feeling you describe. Still don’t understand how it can rain so heavily for so long…


    1. It was a freak of nature I guess and actually quite scary. The bus ride into Gubbio was terrifying as many of the roads were washed out and the driver was whipping around them as if we were in an ambulance.


  7. Nice pictures!


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