Urbino is in the Marche. Although quite a drive, the route is not
without interest and there are some good places to pull over and
take a break along the way. This small city on a hill is a glittering
Renaissance gem, not to be missed in any circumstances. The
centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most
important building is the Palazzo Ducale. This masterpiece of the
early Renaissance, designed and built by Luciano Laurano and
completed by Francesco di Georgio Martini, was commissioned by
the city's most famous ruler; Duke Federico da Montefeltro, who
ruled the city from 1444 until his death in 1482. He died before
the Palazzo was finished. Federico combined a brutally
successful career as a condottiero (mercenary), with a passion for
cultural pursuits. He created the greatest library of the time in
Italy outside of the Vatican, and was a vigorous patron of the arts.
His extensive court, funded entirely by his mercenary exploits, was
a model of civility and decorum famed throughout Europe.
Today, the Palazzo Ducale houses the Galleria Nazionale delle
Marche, which contains an important collection of Renaissance
art. The glories of the collection are legion, but the Palazzo
Ducale is the real star - one of the world's great buildings.
As you would expect, Urbino is a tourist hottie, so during the
Summer, it can be rather crowded. Below the walls of the city are
some extensive, if aesthetically questionable, overground and
underground car parks - use them and walk into the city - but try
to arrive early if you don't want to have to join the queue of cars
looking for slots.
The man himself; Federico da Montefeltro, in
Piero della Francesca's famous portrait. In
1450 Federico lost his right eye in an incident
in a jousting tournament. The resulting
wound was so disfiguring that all subsequent
portraits show him in profile from the left
|Saturday is market day in
Urbino, and it's quite a big affair,
with an extensive number of
food, clothes, and hardware
stalls running along Viale Bruno
Buozzi, which from the centre of
town, you reach by walking up
the steeply cobbled Via Rafaello.
Call in at the family home of
Rafael Sanzio on the way - now
Time from Mazzaforte: 90 minutes
Market Day: Saturday
left is the Palazzo
Ducale and to the
right, the Duomo.
If you want to check
opening hours for
Marche, follow this
link: Galleria to the
At the bottom of
the page there is a
link to the official
website for the city.
This is currently
available only in
The Duomo is not the
Federico and designed
by Francsco di Giorgio
Martini. This was
destroyed in an
earthquake in 1789.
The present building
was designed by
Giuseppe Valadier and
completed in 1801. It
houses a couple of
decent paintings, but
is your thing, the
interior could not be
Interiors and detailing, Palazzo Ducale, click on
any of the four images above for a larger view.
|One of the city's most famous sons;
Raphael Sanzio - "Raffaello". His self
portrait, and on the right; La Muta, which
hangs in the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche.
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