Our second day of trip started early, probably too much early considering the time we went to sleep the night before. We were not accustomed to sleep in tent, for this reasons we woke up few hours after the sunrise, still stunned for the long travel of day before and for the few hours of sleep accumulated during the night, but especially for the relatively low temperature found at the 7:00 AM along the Candigliano torrent (the torrent that runs through the Furlo Gorge).
Despite the tiredness, a constant in this and in some another our trip, the early morning wake-up give us the opportunity to start very early the visit of Urbino (our alarm was set to 8:30 AM). After a quick and hot shower, we got in the car and we went to the city, but more important to the first coffee of the day.
The history of Urbino begins in Roman times, the city assumed considerable importance during the Gothic Wars (6th century), then passed under the control of the Byzantines in 538. Later it was under the Longobard control, then Frank and finally the State of Church (after the sale of Pipino III called “Il Breve” – Wikipedia.com). City was a municipality until 1200, when it fell under the control of the nobles of Montefeltro (a historical region that stretched between the Marche, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany – Wikipedia.com). The most famous exponent of the Montefeltro was Federico da Montefeltro (Wikipedia.com), lord of Urbino between 1444 and 1482. Federico undertook to revive the fate of the city, focusing on its political and structural problems.
In 1502 Cesare Borgia dispossessed Guidobaldo da Montefeltro and Elisabetta Gonzaga. Subsequently Urbino became part of the Pontifical State, under the Della Rovere dynasty (more information on the Wikipedia.com page dedicated to them), who transferred their court to Pesaro, thus initiating the long period of decadence of the city.
Due to the end of the Della Rovere dynasty (which took place in 1631), the Duchy of Urbino was incorporated by Pope Urban VIII into the papal territories (as will of the last duke of the Della Rovere, Francesco Maria II). The artistic heritage of Palazzo Ducale went to constitute the dowry of the last direct descendant of Della Rovere, Vittoria, married to Ferdinando II de ‘Medici (these objects were incorporated into the Uffizi gallery or brought to Rome).
In 1701 the cardinal Urbinate Giovani Francesco Albani (later Clemente XI – Wikipedia.com) was elected to the papal throne, thus opens the last great season of splendor for the city. During this period several buildings were renovated and new ones were built. Pope Clement XI died in 1721.
On September 8, 1860 the Piedmontese troops entered in Urbino from Porta Santa Lucia, forcing the last troops of the papal army to surrender. On 29 September of the same year, with the taking of Ancona, the total conquest of the Marche region was reached, while between 4 and 5 November a plebiscite was held for the annexation of the Marche region to the Kingdom of Sardinia. During the Second World War, Urbino was not bombarded by the Allies or by German troops. The city was freed on August 28, 1944 by the V British Army Corps, the Polish troops and thanks to the help of the partisans of the area.
Since 1998, the historic center of Urbino has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Arrived in Urbino (after about 20 minutes) we had a hearty breakfast at the MaiSenza Lounge Bar (Google Maps) before starting our visit to the city. In case you want to choose another place for your breakfast I suggest you to parking inside the paid parking of shopping center that houses the MaiSenza Lounge Bar, it could be useful in case you want to leave your car in the immediate vicinity of the city, moreover, from the terraces of the shopping center you can enjoy a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.
Here is our itinerary:
Ecco in breve il nostro itinerario:
- Monument to Raffaello (Google Maps);
- Park of the Resistance (Albornoz Fort- Google Maps);
- Raffaello’s House (Google Maps);
- Historic center of Urbino (Duomo and Doge’s Palace – Google Maps);
- Helical Ramp (Google Maps);
- Porta Valbona (Google Maps).
The first stop on our itinerary is the statue of Raffaello Sanzio located at the beginning of the homonymy street (Google Maps), the city of Urbino was the birthplace of the famous Italian painter and architect who was born between 28 March and April 6, 1483 (you can find more information on the Wikipedia.en page dedicated to him). Not far from the statue is the ancient house of Raffaello, home of the homonym Academy, inside which are preserved manuscripts, rare editions and portraits of the master. The entrance to the house of Raffaello takes place through a ticket costing 3.00 euros (more info).
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Walking through the alleys of the city we arrive at the Parco della Resistenza and the Rocca Albornóz (Google Maps), the latter dating back to the fourteenth century. The resistance park is a great place to rest during long sunny afternoons and where have a picnic lunch while enjoying the view of the city. The Rocca Albornóz can be visited after buying a ticket of 2.00 euros, however, given the lack of findings and the lack of information provided I suggest you skip this part of the itinerary (visit the fortress is still useful to enjoy a view ” from the top” of the city).
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After lunch we approach the city center starting with Duomo and continuing with Palazzo Ducale. The current cathedral of Urbino is a neoclassical reconstruction of the previous Renaissance church destroyed by the earthquake of 1789. The facade of the church, designed by architect Camillo Morigia, is made of stone of the Furlo and is adorned with five statues, which represent the Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity) on the pediment, while on the two slopes are represented Sant’Agostino (on the left) and San Giovanni Crisostomo (on the right). Under the pediment is the inscription “STUDIORUM UNIVERSITATI FASTIGIUM”, as a thanks to the University for having financed the construction of the roof. Unfortunately, the building is currently closed to worship and visits due to counter-facade injuries due to the earthquake of 30 October 2016.
Located next to the cathedral, the Ducal Palace of Urbino is considered one of the most interesting architectural and artistic examples of the entire Italian Renaissance, currently it is the headquarters of the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche. Designed by Federico da Montefeltro, the project of the Palazzo Ducale of Urbino immediately underwent many changes through the years. Started in around 1450 the castle project changed drastically after 1460 when Federico captain general and arbiter of the Italian league following the defeat Sigismondo Malatesta (lord of Rimini and Fano). In 1472, following the appointment of Federico as duke and gonfalonier of the Church, the building underwent a new series of changes that transformed it into the structure that we can still admire today.
The Palazzo Ducale of Urbino can be visited following the purchase of a ticket of 8.00 euros (or 5.00 in case of reduction). Finally, before leaving the city we follow the Helico ramp, built by Federico da Montefeltro, which connects the base of the Palazzo Ducale with the place placed near the walls.
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Completed our visit to the city of Urbino we set off again to Parco le Querce (our camping that I’ve already described in the last article), from which we begin a long walk in the suggestive Furlo Gorge, walking along the Via Flaminia (a roman consular road that connects Rimini to Rome). Along the Via Flaminia we could see many incredible landscapes, such as canyon dug in the rock by water and ancient tunnels hand built by ancient Roman.
Our walk ended a few kilometers later, at a dam. Note, pay attention to the road, especially at tunnels, the space available for walk it’s not much.
With the visit to the city of Urbino, we conclude our short stay in the Parco le Querce campsite, and in Marche. The next morning we would leave for Naples, stopping along the way to admire the majestic Marmore Falls.
I will talk about this incredible third day of travel within the article that I will publish in two weeks. Meanwhile follow me on my Instagram profile and enjoy yourself with my photos!