Old Town of Urbino (World Heritage)

Urbino is considered a total work of art of the Renaissance and experienced its most glamorous period in the 14th and 15th centuries, when it advanced to the center of Italian humanism. The magnificent buildings such as the cathedral, the Church of Santo Domenico, the Renaissance palace of the Dukes of Urbino (Palazzo Ducale) and the house where Raphael was born bear witness to this. Important artists and scholars made the city the cultural and scientific center of Italy. The medieval townscape has largely been preserved to this day.

Urbino Old Town: Facts

Official title: Historic center of Urbino
Cultural monument: Old town with the Piazza della Repubblica, the cathedral, the churches of San Francesco and San Sergio, the Palazzo Ducale, with the Data, the largest horse stable in Italy (300 horses), the Palazzo Albani and the house where the painter Raphael (1483-1520) was born
Continent: Europe
Country: Italy, Pesaro e Urbino
Location: Urbino, northwest of Ancona, southwest of Rimini
Appointment: 1998
Meaning: an extremely attractive, very well-preserved urban total work of art from the Renaissance

Old town of Urbino: history

185 BC Chr. Roman settlement
around 1100 independent city of Urbino
1213 Fief of the Count of Montefeltro
1362-65 New construction of the Dominican Church
1444-82 Reign of Duke Federico II.
1447 Start of construction on the Palazzo Ducale
1456 pest
1474-1534 Construction of the cathedral
1502 Residence of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
1508 Urbino falls to the House of the Rovere
1508-38 Reign of Duke Francesco Maria della Rovere
1604 Erection of the cathedral dome
1626 under Pope Urban VIII (1623-44) part of the Papal States
1873 Sanding the fastenings
1912 Establishment of the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche in the Palazzo Ducale
1966 Restoration of the Dominican Church

Organized work of art away from the main tourist streets

If you want to travel to the city, which is far off the beaten tourist track between Venice, Florence and Rome, you have to make detours and step into the middle of the hilly landscape of the Marche. There the urban structure is enthroned “in the form of a palace”, as Baldassare Castiglione, the author of the “Book of the Courtier”, stated in the 16th century. The “Palazzo” with its fortress walls still harbors urban life with the Piazza Duca Federico as the stage, the alleys as the catwalk, the churches as the spiritual center and the university as the spiritual center.

In the city spanned over two hills there is no Babylonian confusion of languages ​​like at St. were, as the writer Dino Buzzati thinks. These include the Dukes of Montefeltro with their most famous offspring, Federico da Montefeltro. Urbino owed a heyday to this prince. As a sought-after mercenary leader and expert on firearms, he hurried from victory to victory, received princely remuneration for his services and invested in the tiny empire of those of Montefeltro. It wasn’t easy for him: As an illegitimate son, he first had to “sit out” a conspiracy against his half-brother.

Federico ruled with a skilful hand, encouraged his subjects – and they loved him. “When he was walking through the streets,” said Burckhardt, “people would kneel down and say ‘God protect you, Lord'”. After his daughter married the nephew of Pope Sixtus IV in 1474, Federico was given the title of duke. In his later years this duke was above all a man of culture, hungry for education and inquisitive. According to philosophynearby, the intellectuals, humanists, scribes and artists whom he gathered around him in the Palazzo Ducale called him “Light of Italy” with full appreciation.

Federico’s palace became the epitome of harmonious Renaissance architecture. The holiest of all was the studiolo, the study, with the wood inlays designed by Donato d’Angelo Bramante and Sandro Botticelli. From there the “Realissimo” ruled, who preferred to play the role of the open-minded potentate, as Piero della Francesca portrayed him in 1465: with an open look, a distinctive chin and hooked nose.

Existence is finite, there is a great thirst for knowledge and the people of the brands have always been particularly capable: Federico used his time, even at the table. At his table they read, preferably from the works of antiquity, the writings of Aristotle, Plato, Seneca, but also from the treatises of the Church Fathers. “The gentleman himself was the most learned,” says Burckhardt. But Federico was not only guided by the sense of mission of a Renaissance prince, but also wanted to shine with a valuable library. He had started collecting as a boy, and over the years he collected manuscripts, miniatures, tomes and first prints. What could not be bought, the Duca had three dozen “clerks” copy. The holdings of the ducal library were impressive: 920 most valuable writings. What the prince left behind remained a breeding ground for culture: shortly after the death of Duca, the painter genius Raffael saw the light of day. In the community center on today’s Via Raffaello 57, his father showed him the art of brush and paint. The shine of yore is of course only a reflection, but the thinkers have stayed: They are based at the university, which was founded in 1506. And the Urbinesi? They are still, as the writer Paolo Volponi described them: “Through the beauties of Urbino, they are slaves of the city.” You are based at the university that was founded in 1506. And the Urbinesi? They are still, as the writer Paolo Volponi described them: “Through the beauties of Urbino, they are slaves of the city.” You are based at the university that was founded in 1506. And the Urbinesi? They are still, as the writer Paolo Volponi described them: “Through the beauties of Urbino, they are slaves of the city.”

Old Town of Urbino