Urbino: what to see, history and monuments to visit


Visit to Urbino, discovering the ancient town of Marche, rich in history and monuments of great artistic value.

Guide Urbino

Urbino, a town of Marche whose historic center has been declared World Heritage by UNESCO is, along with Pesaro, the capital of the province of Pesaro Urbino. The city lies on the hills, at an average height of 450 meters above sea level, which have the function of the watershed between the basin of the Leaf to the north and the basin of the Metauro noon. Its territory covers two hills laced together by a depression, in the typical configuration saddle.

The town stands on a site inhabited since ancient times, it was a center of great importance to the Roman times, it was the scene of the battle in the wars between the Goths and Byzantines, until the latter, in 538 AD, conquered it, then fell to the Lombards and later the Franks. It was a possession of the church, became a free commune, headed by representatives of the most powerful families of the city, adjacent to the Bishop.

Around the twelfth century ecclesiastical authority diminished, so that the German emperors of the House Swabian conceded, in 1213, the city in feud to Montefeltro, noble from Lombardy, which, excluding a period in which the Urbino took back control of the city, ruled the “County of Urbino”, later transformed into the Duchy of Urbino, until 1508.

In 1444 he was proclaimed ruler of the city Federico da Montefeltro, the most famous exponent of the House, leader, statesman and great patron of the Renaissance, during his rule (1444-82), called to court the best painters, architects, mathematicians and intellectuals of the time, making it one of Urbino centers culturally and artistically more alive era.

He is due to the construction of the Palazzo Ducale, one of the most beautiful and refined buildings of the Renaissance. Although the work was initially entrusted to the Florentine Maso di Bartolomeo, that included in the new building of the ancient palace said Jole, the main parts of this work are to be attributed to the famous Dalmatian architect Luciano Laurana.

Around 1474 the architect Laurana was replaced by the artist-architect-engineer Francesco di Giorgio Martini, which made the building a building of extraordinary beauty, a real “city in the form of building” that can accommodate hundreds of people.

With the transfer of power to the dynasty Della Rovere, the building underwent new modifications and extensions. In 1631 the Duchy of Urbino was donated to the Holy See and to the palace began a period of decline that lasted several centuries, until 1912 when it was set up inside the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, which allowed the recovery of numerous works of art.

What to see in Urbino

Between two heights there is the main square, and the old Market Square called the Mercatale. Place on the hill to the south, slightly lower than the one place to the north, is the Palazzo Ducale, the headquarters of the University of Urbino, with the new seat of the Centre and the main monuments.

After the Palazzo Ducale, the most interesting museum of the city is the home of Raphael, where he was born and spent the first years of his life the famous painter. You can also visit the ‘Oratory of St. John where there is a cycle of frescoes of the early fifteenth century, by brothers Salimbeni of Sanseverino, witnesses prestigious international Gothic, el’ Saint Joseph’s Oratory, which preserves a beautiful crib by the sculptor Urbino Federico Brandani. Other interesting buildings of the old town are the and the Church of St. Francis.

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