- NORTHERN ITALY
- CENTRAL ITALY
- SOUTHERN ITALY
- INSULAR ITALY
Birthplace of the famous Renaissance painter Raffaello Sanzio, Urbino is a treasure trove of art and history in the shape of a hill town, about 30 km from the Adriatic coast and about 100 km from the Tuscan city of Arezzo. To discover Urbino just visit the streets, buildings and ramparts that have made the city a World Heritage Site according to UNESCO. In a few hundred square meters there is a series of things to see that represent a slice of history, architecture and art.
The Fortress of Albornoz is a fortified construction of the fourteenth century, with a particular shape, which dominates the city of Urbino and from which it is possible to have an overview of the entire historic center and the landscape that surrounds it. Inside it houses the Bella Gerit Museum, where you can look at archaeological finds and an entire room dedicated to the history of war equipment in use between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.
From the fortress extends the walls, which cover the entire historic center, as protection of a small jewel. There are numerous interesting gates and ramparts to see.
An interesting and unique bastion of its kind is the Bastion of the Helical Ramp. From the Mercatale car park it is possible to walk along the wide stairways of the bastion to access the center. These stairways were designed for horses to access the historic center as well. Alternatively, you can access the historic center via the lift.
In 1800 the Raffaello Sanzio Theater, the main theater of Urbino, was superimposed on the bastion, whose atrium is decorated with two marble busts depicting one Raphael and the other Donato Bramante.
The Doge's Palace is very close to the Bastione della Rampa Elicoidale and looks like a small fortified city. Built in the Renaissance period, it houses one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in Italy. It is one of the most important monuments of Urbino.
In the wishes of Frederick III, the Palazzo Ducale was to be one of the most beautiful princely residences in Italy, the fulcrum and maximum expression of the desire to make Urbino the"ideal city", a meeting place and home for the artists who would give prestige to the city and its court. Today the Palazzo Ducale houses the National Gallery of the Marche, where important works by Raphael, Titian and Piero della Francesca can be admired. Another important Renaissance work is by an unknown author: the"Ideal City".
The Cathedral of Urbino was built by Valadier in a neoclassical style at the end of the 18th century, in a fairly recent period compared to the history of the city, due to natural disasters that destroyed the previous Renaissance-era cathedral.
Interesting are the caves of the cathedral, which, during the Second World War, housed the works of the Treasury of the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, to protect the works from bombs. In the caves there are several chapels and the Corridor of Forgiveness, which, according to an ancient tradition of Urbino, guaranteed the forgiveness of sins if it was walked on Easter Monday.
Raphael's house is located in the artisan district and retains only a few works, almost all painted at a young age.
In 1873 the house was purchased by the Raffaello Academy and since then it has housed works related to Raphael's life and his time. On the ground floor is the workshop of his father Giovanni Santi, now used for temporary exhibitions, while on the first floor there are copies of Raphael's paintings and tributes by other artists to the great painter from Urbino.
Two other interesting churches to see in the Urbino area are the Oratory of San Giovanni and the Church of San Bernardino.
The Oratory of San Giovanni, with a neo-Gothic facade built at the beginning of the last century, inside of offers a masterpiece painted on the walls: it is the cycle of frescoes created by the brothers Lorenzo and Jacopo Salimbeni from San Severino Marche, important interpreters of the Marche Gothic style.
Two kilometers from the historic center, surrounded by greenery, is the Church of San Bernardino, also known as the Mausoleum of the Dukes, built by Federico da Montefeltro to house his remains after his death. Also from this site you can see a pleasant view of Urbino, from a perspective opposite to that of the Albornoz Fortress.