Founded by Diego de Almagro in1534, Trujillo Peru became the northern coast´s most important city in the 10th century. Sugarcane landlords and rich merchants built opulent mansions during the Colonial era. Due to constant attacks by pirates, a wall was built around the 3-sq mile (8-sq km) city in the late 17th century. In 1820, Trujillo led the struggle for Peruvian independence, and since then, it has been a center of popular rebellion. Today, Trujillo is an oasis of green surrounded by abundant rice and sugar-cane fields, and with fascinating Moche and Chimú archaeological sites nearby.
One of the most historically significant buildings in the city, this was the place where Trujillo´s independence from Spanish rule was planned, declared, and spearheaded by the Marquis of Torre Tagle in 1820. Also known as Casa Rossel-Urquiaga, after the family that owned the house from 1884 to 1944, it was the first seat of government and Congress in Peru.
In the mid 20th century, BBVA Banco Continental bought and restored the building as its head office in the city. The main courtyard and entrance exhibit a symmetrical and austere design and the wide gallery contains impressive marble flooring 18th century murals depicting peasant life. The plans and the history of the house are displayed alongside permanent exhibitions on the life of iconic poet César Vallejo (1892-1938) and Bishop Baltazar Martínez se Compañón y Bujanda (1737 - 97), who, as the moved around his diocese, painted numerous watercolors that reveal the customs and lifestyle of the period.
Occupied today by the Club Central, an exclusive social center for Trujillo´s upper classes, this early 19th century Neo-Classical mansion was home to General José Manuel Iturregui y Aguilarte, father of Peruvian independence. He bought it from the Marquises of Bellavista in 1841. Situated two blocks east of the Plaza de Armas, the so-called palace has three large patios encircled by beautiful halls and galleries embellished with gold moldings on the ceilings, tall, slender, interior columns, and an open roof. There is restricted access, however with only some parts open to tourists.
Housed in what was once a splendid 17th-century Colonial mansion, the Museum of Archaeology of the University of Trujillo is remarkable for its large and comprehensive collection of thematic exhibits covering 12,000 years of the northern coast´s history. This building has had many owners, including the Risco family who lived here until 1984, which is why it is also known as the Casa Risco. After several years of state ownership, the mansion was handed over to the University of Trujillo in 1955, providing a permanent exhibition space for its large archaeological collection, begun in 1939.
Textiles, ceramic and metal objects, adn other artifacts are on display. The most impresive are the Moche finds excavated from the Huaca de la Luna.
This church and monastery was founded in 1759, though some historians claim it was established in 1724. Occupying an entire blocks, this is the biggest religious complez in the city. Although severely damaged by earthquakes in 1759 and later in 1970, the complex has survived. Today, it is referred to as the "jewel of Colonial art in Trujillo". The church and monastery houses the most important collection of Colonial art in Trujillo Peru. The Pinacoteca Carmelia (Carmelite Painting Gallery) exhibits about 150 Baroque and Rococo paintings, most of them dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of the finest examples include Flemish paintings, such as the Last Supper, by Otto van Veen, one of Ruben´s teachers, and the sculptured image of Joseph and Jesus crafted by Quiteño artist, Manuel Chili "Capiscara", in the late 18th century. At the end of the Pinacoteca, a room demonstrates the paintings restoration process, although all explanations are in Spanish. The church has other marvelous features, particularly the breathtaking central gilded altar, considered a master-piece of the Churrigueresque style in Peru, created in 1759 by Fernando Collado de la Cruz, a free black Peruvian Floral murals in soft pastel shades line each side of the single dome nave, with exquisite altars on either side and a fine gold-leaf pulpit.
The monastery has two cloisters, the processional and the recreational, both boasting superb vaulted arches and painted wooden columns. A fair portion of the convent´s art collection is kept here, but it is not open to the public.
Inaugurated in 2001, this museum exhibits an unusual and fascinating collection of toys put together by Trujillo-born painter, Gerardo Chávez. With about 1,000 pieces, including a 2,500-year-old Vicus whistle, pre-Columbian Chancay ragdolls, genuine 18th-century French biscuit dolls, post-war metal cars, and battalions of diminutive tin soldiers, the museum aims to become the biggest private toy collection in Latin America. It is sponsored by Espacio Cultural Angelmira, headed by Chávez, which is located on the first floor, where a very discreet and smartly decorated café-bar offers drinks and snacks.
Few couldimagine that under a gas station there existed a "museum" of sorts. Owned by José Cassinell Mazzei, a man of Italian descent born on Trujillo Peru, this collection of artifacts reflects his abiding passion for pre-Columbian history. Despite its unusual setting, having Cassinelli, called "Pepe" by his friends, guide and explain the detail of each piece can be an unforgettable ecperience.
The collection of about 1,000 pieces includes ceramic whistling pots and other objects from the Chimú, Moche, Vicus, and Recuay cultures.