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Urbino, treasure of Montefeltro

Urbino and its precious treasure, the great Ducal palace built by the will of the Duke Federico II of Montefeltro. Urbino is the home-place of its most famous citizen, Raffaello. Urbino and its countryside spread with tiny medieval villages and charming towns such as Urbania, where another residence belonging to the Montefeltro family is located, less famous but interesting as well.

 The modern Urbino is a lively university town where many artistic events are held around one of the most famous Italian historical residences, the Ducal Palace. It is an amazing building not only because of its architecture but also for the precious art collections that are kept inside. The Ducal Palace is an example of unfortified Prince Residence different from the model of the closed castle of the fortress of Albornoz, surrounded by the public park of the city. In the huge halls of the noble floor there is the National Gallery of Marche where a number of precious works of art such as “Santa Caterina d’Alessandria” by Raffaello and the “Madonna di Senigallia” by Piero della Francesca are kept so Urbino can be considered the core of the Italian Renaissance.

On the same noble floor there are the Duke’s apartments where you can visit the very famous “studiolo” built by Baccio Pontelli by using a wood-inlay technique known as intarsia from the drawings by Giorgo Martini and Bramante. But the whole building deserves to be visited and the Archaeological Museum as well with its collection of sepulchral epigraphs; the underground area is interesting too. When you leave the palace, in the main square’s background featured by an Egyptian obelisk dating back to the year 580 B.C. ,you’ll see the University building founded in the XVIth century and moved to this ancient residence belonging to the Montefeltro in 1882. You mustn’t miss Raffaello’s home-place where the great artist was born and where a number of engravings and reproductions of his works as well as a few frescoes are still kept in his bedroom – a Virgin with Child ascribed to an already young talented painter.

It is a town rich of invaluable treasures that will welcome you from Porta Valbona where you can see a coil spring staircase that directly reaches the arcades of Corso Garibaldi near the Sanzio theatre built around the middle of the XIXth century.
Getting along Corso Garibaldi you can walk near the Western side of the Ducal palace and reach the Cathedral built from the design of Francesco di Giorgio Martini. From the right navy you can enter the Albani Museum where a number of frescoes dating back to the XIVth century and other precious works of art are kept. In the Cathedral’s crypt you can see the “Pietà” by Giovanni Baldini, dating back to the XIXth century, a destination for the pilgrims and smart art connoisseurs.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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