Urbino in the Marche

We had a lovely day trip today to Urbino. It is a World Heritage site in the Marche district just next door to Umbria on the Adriatic. It is fully walled and on the top of a formidable hill. It has a long history, of course, where it went back and forth being independent or a Papal dependency depending on when you looked. It’s most famous inhabitant was Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482. In 1626 the city again fell to the Pope. I won’t go into further history but we visited Federico’s Ducal palace while we were there.

It took about 1 1/2 hours to get there through mountainous terrain. The highway ran parallel to the old Roman road running to the sea. A pretty little river did the work of cutting an enormous gorge making a natural route.

We parked below the town and walked up. The streets were steep and small. It is a university town with a school of design as well as a school of pharmacy. There were lots and lots of kids everywhere making for a lively scene. We went into the Duomo of Urbino which was begun on the foundation of a 6th century church in 1021. It was finished in 1604. In 1789 it was destroyed by an earthquake. It was rebuilt in Neoclassical style and finished in 1801. It is beautiful, clean and modern feeling inside with a soaring dome.


We entered the Ducal Palace and toured the rooms. Beautiful paintings, stone work, and especially beautiful inlay work in wood. Following are some pictures. We were there for about 2 hours. Believe it or not the next two pictures are of the magnificent inlay work entirely of wood. The perspectives are perfect. Check out the folds in the gown. Amazing work. AND it was created in the 1400s!



This is the ceiling and walls in the same room above the inlays. All the walls are inlaid in wood. It was the Duke’s study. Very beautiful


Luther standing in one of the gigantic fireplaces.


A huge reception room where the Duke did his work.


I loved the scene of lower Urbino viewed through a very old window with wavy glass. I thought it looked like a painting.


We left the palace and wandered the main Piazza. This is the student chapel; beautiful in it’s symmetry.


Now it was time for lunch. We had several places that we had researched but none worked out. We went to a place in the Piazza San Francesco in the center of town called Il Girarrosto. They had tables outside in the leafy, inviting square. Unfortunately we had to eat inside. It turned out to be just lovely. They made dishes of the region. We split a pasta with a local cheese that was very good. Different from Umbrian cheese. Kind of reminded me of cheddar. Then I had the grilled chicken diavalo and Luther had the beef. I went back to the facilities before we left and I was amazed at the large cooking fireplace that I had to pass on the way. So now I saw where our grilled meats were prepared. Here are two pictures. The top one is the fireplace. See the glowing coals at the back? It has an electric rotisserie and grilling racks over the coals they pull from the back. Other picture was taken outside. The weather was beautiful.

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We drove back via a different route. It went north of the one we’d come over on through a lovely verdant valley and up up up into the mountains via a road full of switchbacks. There was hardly any traffic. We never came up on another car.

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It came out in San Guistino north of Umbertide by about 20 miles or so. I liked that route better mainly because the southerly route is the main road. It is still mostly a two lane road and full of trucks all headed for the coast. A fun outing.

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