« A lovely country lunch | Main | Seriously......light lasagne! (No Swimming!) »

Oratorio of San Bernardino in Perugia




I think that this small oratory in the historic centre of Perugia has an unusually lovely facade, coloured in pinks and blues, and using terracotta and limestone as a few of the building materials.

The polychrome front was completed in 1461, and is one of the earliest works of the Renaissance in Perugia.It has some wonderful scenes in colours rarely seen on church facades. (The first photo is courtesy of Bill Thayer, who has some wonderful Umbrian pix on his website)

Below is a delightful musical angel, taken from a relief in the lunette over the double doors. It depicts San Bernardino in Glory with a host of angelic musicians.


And a gryphon, a symbol of the city of Perugia.


The facade was decorated by Agostino di Duccio, who used scenes from the life of San Bernardino, with figures of Annunication.

The oratory was comissioned in 1451, soon after the canonization of San Bernardino of Siena. It's located next to San Francesco al Prato on the fringe of Perugia's hilltop historic centre.



The interior is quite plain, but I was intrigued by this banner (below), attributed to Benedetto Bonfigli, and comissioned by the Commune of Perugia after an outbreak of plague in 1464. It was credited with miraculous powers and shows the Madonna dell Misercordia, protecting Perugia from angels firing arrows. (I didn't want to use a flash, so I apologize for the less-than-vivid colours.)


Comments (10)

What a great place. I agree, the colors are unusual - love that teal colored stone. And the reliefs are so beautiful!

The banner is very cool. I love that image of the Madonna with folks huddled under her cloak - you see her often in Venice too.

Great photos and wonderful post! Have a nice weekend and I can't wait to see more. :)

Ahhh, angels in the architecture... one of my very favorite things. :)


Lovely! I have got to get back to Perugia some day.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, I enjoyed reading this post. The photos (including Bill's) are wonderful. I liked the musical angel. The banner is also very interesting. It must have been so great to see these in person. Fascinating history.

Thanks so much for sharing. I'm looking forward to your next entry.

Beautiful details. I must get to Umbria some day.


Thanks, Annie -- I've seen a similar Madonna sheltering the faithful around Tuscany as well. A popular and comforting image!

Leslie, what a lovely line....angels in the architecture.

Amy, I really enjoy Perugia and Umbria -- so beautiful and interesting. I hope you can get back there sometime!

Thanks Kathy, for your kind words. I'm getting excited about YOUR trip, only a month away!

Marta, if you get a chance to see Umbria, it really is lovely.

Beautiful photos. It makes me want to return also.


Girasoli, I really enjoy Perugia, lots of great art and churches, good restaurants and it never feels too crowded. And now with the mini-metro, it's very easy to get to the train station for day trips as well.

I am bummed the mini-metro wasn't there when I was in Perugia. It looks pretty cool. How much did it cost? Was it fast?


Girasoli, I should do a mini-metro post. It was fun to ride. But it was quite slow, which surprised me -- I guess I've grown used to high-speed rail that zips around so many cities! Part of the time the mini-metro is going through tunnels, especially for its last two stops in the historic centre, so I guess that slows it down.

The ride is 1 euro, so it's pretty reasonable, and the cars are small -- about the size of a minibus. So maybe 20 people, if everyone is standing and cramped, could fit in. Since I was riding off-hours, there was never more than about 8 people in the car.

The Slow Travel notes on the mini-metro were helpful because its final stop, near the information centre on Piazza Matteotti, is actually hard to find until you know what you're looking for. Same at the train station -- they might need to do much bigger, better signs for visitors!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)