A Quick Trip to Urbino

Urbino is the real “cradle of the Renaissance,” what best than walking among the monuments of Raphael’s city.

I think Urbino is one of those cities that needs to be seen over and over. I visited Urbino many years ago and had wonderful memories, I went back recently, visited quickly, and promised myself to go back again, perhaps in summer to enjoy the wonderful views of the hills.

Urbino is nestled in the soft hills of the Marche region, It is a city of immense historical and artistic wealth.

Surrounded by a long brick wall and adorned with sandstone buildings, Urbino from a simple village became the “city of the Renaissance,” and even today, walking through its historic center you can breathe a certain fifteenth-century atmosphere.

The origins of Urbino are very ancient, but it was in the fifteenth century that the city experienced its maximum splendor. And it is above all thanks to the contribution of Federico di Montefeltro that Urbino acquired that monumental and artistic excellence, whose influence has widely extended to the rest of Europe.

In fact, Federico da Montefeltro was able not only to transform Urbino into a magnificent princesque court, but also to attract into the duchy the best that the Italian Renaissance humanistic culture could offer: Piero della Francesca, Luciano Laurana, Leon Battista Alberti, Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Girolamo Genga and Raphael’s father, Giovanni Santi.

Walking along the steep and narrow streets-you’ll get great legs first of all 😉–then you will come across all the buildings of the Renaissance Urbino, and most of all the majestic Palazzo Ducale, guardian of the treasure of Urbino.

Some of the most important workers of the time were involved in the construction of the building, now home to the National Gallery of the Marche.

And a visit to the Gallery is a must (beware of the long line to get tickets), if you want to admire some absolute masterpieces of art history preserved here: “Flagellation of Christ” and “Madonna di Senigallia” by Piero della Francesca, “Communion of the Apostles” by Giusto di Gand; “Miracle of the Profaned Host” by Paolo Uccello and the sublime “Muta” by Raphael.

Both Bramante and Raffaello took their first steps right here in Urbino. Raphael in particular was trained in his father’s workshop and made his debut with works commissioned from him by the nearby localities of the duchy.

Nearby do not miss the Data (the ducal stables), connected to the Palace by the magnificent helicoidal ramp.

Artistically beautiful, but also beautiful from a landscape point of view: being between two hills, Urbino offers a decidedly suggestive panorama made of roofs and churches.

The Kite Festival takes place every year in Urbino and is generally held in September. It is a real race in which the one who manages to fly their kite higher wins.

Urbino plays Jazz is a festival organized in August by the Urbino Jazz Club association and promoted by the Municipality of Urbino where young talents and established artists aim to spread the tolerant culture of jazz music in the area.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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