Rooted in pre-Roman times, Urbino developed into one of the most significant Italian Renassaince examples with its architecture still perfectly maintained nowadays. The outstanding figure of Federico da Montefeltro, first Count and later Duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482, moulded its history and fostered a deep change still witnessed by The Ducal Palace. Since 1998 Urbino has been part of Unesco World Heritage.
You can enjoy half-day and/or full-day visits to the town and its surroundings to better appreciate its many art facets and the typical gourmet products such as Casciotta d’Urbino and the white truffle from Acqualagna.
The Ducal Palace and the National Gallery of the Marches
The Ducal Palace of Urbino is an outstanding example of the Italian Renassaince art and architecture. The Palace,wished and imagined by Federico da Montefeltro, has been hosting the National Gallery of the Marches since 1912. Its fairylike two-turret-fassade and the main court overwhelm the visitor.. The most impressing section of the Gallery exhibits best examples of Urbino Renassaince such as two works by Piero della Francesca , The Ideal City and the Duke’s portrait by Pedro Berruguete, works from the early 1500 including Raphael’s The Mute and St.Catherine. from the 1600 including Federico Barocci’s works.
Raphael’s Birthplace is a fascinating house where the painter was born on March, 28, 1483 and where he lived his first art experiences at his father’s school. Giovanni Santi, Raphael’s father, was himself a well-known painter.
Urbino gave Raphael an unforgettable inprint as Carlo Bo states” The Divine Painter learnt the Divine proportion of the talents, most of all he learnt the value of philosophy and the value of his being a painter”
A must see monument of Urbino It shows overwhelming 15th century frescoes, best examples of the International Gothic style, created by the two brothers Jacopo and Lorenzo Salimbeni. First built in 1365 it hosted pilgrims and ill people among who Beato Pietro lo Spagnolo, whose remains are to be seen under the main altar. From that time is the wooden hull-shaped ceiling whereas the fassade was rebuilt in the XXth century in a neo gothic style.
The frescoes were first started in 1416 (see the majestic Crucifixion in the apsis)) and continued on the right-hand wall with the scenes from St. John’s life. The frescoes on the fassade wall and partly on the left-handed wall, were eventually completed by Antonio Alberti da Ferrara.
Impressive is the quality of the frescoes for their vivid refinement and colours, their accurate details and their virtuosity enhanced by the use of mother-of-pearl and other precious material.
Polo Museale Cattedrale di Urbino
Albani Diocesan Museum – The Oratory of the CaveOratorio della Grotta
The museum is dedicated to the patron Albani family and the Pope Clemens XI (1700-1721) himself who indeed contributed to increase “the treasure of the cathedral”. Since 1964 the Archbishop’s palace has been the seat of a museum which increasingly involves visitors due to several recent findings in the Archbishop’s territory.
The religious furnishing from the XIII century up to now: XIV and XV cent miniatures in manuscripts, filigree, enameled, amber, majolica, ceramic, porcelain, gold and silver goblets and reliquiaries, ivory crosiers, vests with precious metals. Majestic is the brass lectern from Duke Federico’s library and the bronze candleholder created by Francesco di Giorgio Martini.
The many detached frescoes highlight the importance of International Gothic in Jacopo and Lorenzo Salimbeni’s favourite area.. Paintings from the XIV to the XIX century witness great Schools such as Giovanni Santi’s, Mannerism and other great artistic personalities such as Federico Barocci and Federico Zuccari who contributed to local history but also successfully reached the national and international stage.
The massive neoclassical Cathedral, which was designed by the architect Giuseppe Valadier at the end of the XVIII century, together with the Albani Museum and the Oratory of the Cave make a significant religious place for the Holy Week and the religious artistic core of Urbino.