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Urbino. The Marche’s Cradle of the Renaissance

By Thursday, 29 December 2022 13:49
Urbino Urbino

Urbino is one of the most important centres of the Italian Renaissance, whose artistic charm and architectural heritage it still preserves today.

Strolling through its historical centre one can breathe in its 15th century air, as its exceptional urban complex has been kept almost intact.

Breakfast in the Caffè degli Angeli

Urbino can easily be visited in one day, and the best itinerary starts in the historical centre from the Porta Valbona gate in the old 16th-century defensive walls. Stop here for breakfast at the Caffè degli Angeli, and then continue by visiting the Palazzo Ducale and the Duomo.

Priceless works of art

The Ducal Palace, one of the most imposing and largest in Italy, is also one of the most interesting examples of the Italian Renaissance, and is home to the Marche National Gallery. Building on it started in 1444 on a design by Federico da Montefeltro, who wanted his palace to surpass all other princely residences in Italy, thus making Urbino the prince's Ideal City. Its splendid gallery has one of the most important art collections from the Renaissance period, including many priceless paintings by Raphael, Piero della Francesca and Titian.

The cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake

Not far from the Ducal Palace is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Following the earthquake of 12 January 1789 it was rebuilt in neoclassical style, and among the works of art inside are the Martyrdom of St Sebastian, St Cecilia and the Last Supper, all by Federico Barocci.

Raphael was born and lived in Urbino

The famous painter Raphael was born in Urbino in 1483, and spent his childhood training in his father Giovanni Santi's workshop, now located on the ground floor of the Casa Raffaello house. It also houses works related to Raphael's life and times; on the first floor there are copies of his paintings and various tributes by other artists to the great painter. In the bedroom there is a fresco depicting the Madonna and Child, considered to be a youthful work done with his father, and in the small courtyard there are a well and a wash basin where the great master ground the colours he used for his paintings.  

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