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—  Comune  —
Comune di Urbino
The Ducal Palace of Urbino

Coat of arms
Urbino is located in Italy
Location of Urbino in Italy
Coordinates: 43°43′N 12°38′E / 43.717°N 12.633°E / 43.717; 12.633Coordinates: 43°43′N 12°38′E / 43.717°N 12.633°E / 43.717; 12.633
Country Italy
Region Marche
Province Pesaro and Urbino (PU)
Frazioni Ca' Mazzasette, Canavaccio, Castelcavallino, La Torre, Mazzaferro, Pieve di Cagna, San Marino, Schieti, Scotaneto, Trasanni
 - Mayor Franco Corbucci (Democratic Party)
 - Total 228 km2 (88 sq mi)
Elevation 451 m (1,480 ft)
Population (28 February 2009)
 - Total 15,566
 - Density 68.3/km2 (176.8/sq mi)
 - Demonym Urbinati
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 61029
Dialing code 0722
Patron saint St. Crescentinus
Saint day June 1
Website Official website
Historic Centre of Urbino*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

The church of San Bernardino near Urbino.
State Party  Italy
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 828
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1998  (22nd Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Urbino About this sound listen is a walled city in the Marche region in Italy, south-west of Pesaro, a World Heritage Site notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482. The town, nestled on a high sloping hillside, retains much of its picturesque medieval aspect, only slightly marred by the large car parks below the town. It hosts the University of Urbino, founded in 1506, and is the seat of the Archbishop of Urbino (see below). Its best-known architectural piece is the Palazzo Ducale, rebuilt by Luciano Laurana.



Antique plan of Urbino (1689) by Tommaso Luci

The modest Roman town of Urvinum Mataurense ("the little city on the river Mataurus") became an important strategic stronghold in the Gothic Wars of the 6th century, captured in 538 from the Ostrogoths by the Roman general Belisarius, and frequently mentioned by the historian Procopius.

Though Pippin presented Urbino to the Papacy, independent traditions were expressed in its commune, until, around 1200, it came into the possession of the House of Montefeltro. Although these noblemen had no direct authority over the commune, they could pressure it to elect them to the position of podestà, a title that Bonconte di Montefeltro managed to obtain in 1213, with the result that Urbino's population rebelled and formed an alliance with the independent commune of Rimini (1228), finally regaining control of the town in 1234. Eventually, though, the Montefeltro noblemen took control once more, and held it until 1508. In the struggles between the Guelphs and Ghibellines where factions supported either the Papacy or the Holy Roman Empire, the 13th and 14th century Montefeltro lords of Urbino were leaders of the Ghibellines of the Marche and in the Romagna region.

The most famous member of the Montefeltro was Federico III (or II), Duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482, a very successful condottiere, a skillful diplomat and an enthusiastic patron of art and literature. At his court, Piero della Francesca wrote on the science of perspective, Francesco di Giorgio Martini wrote his Trattato di architettura ("Treatise on Architecture") and Raphael's father, Giovanni Santi, wrote his poetical account of the chief artists of his time. Federico's brilliant court, according to the descriptions in Baldassare Castiglione's Il Cortegiano ("The Book of the Courtier"), set standards of what was to characterize a modern European "gentleman" for centuries to come.

In 1502, Cesare Borgia, with the connivance of his Papal father, Alexander VI, dispossessed Duke Guidobaldo and Elisabetta Gonzaga. They returned in 1503, after Alexander had died. After the Medici pope Leo X's brief attempt to establish a young Medici as duke, thwarted by the early death of Lorenzo II de' Medici in 1519, Urbino was ruled by the dynasty of Della Rovere dukes (see also War of Urbino).

In 1626, Pope Urban VIII definitively incorporated the Duchy into the papal dominions, the gift of the last Della Rovere duke, in retirement after the assassination of his heir, to be governed by the archbishop. Its great library was removed to Rome and added to the Vatican Library in 1657. The later history of Urbino is part of the history of the Papal States and, after 1861, of the Kingdom (later Republic) of Italy.

See also: Dukes of Urbino

Archbishops of Urbino

The first known bishop in Urbino was Leontius, made Bishop of Rimini by Gregory the Great in 592. The cathedral was not permitted within the walls by the independent-spirited commune until 1021, under Bishop Theodoricus. Among a long list of bishops of interest within the Roman Catholic Church, Oddone Colonna (1380), later reigned as Pope Martin V. In 1563 Pius IV made the see metropolitan, independent of Rimini, with its own suffragans: Cagli, Senigallia, Pesaro, Fossombrone, Montefeltro, and Gubbio. In 2000, Urbino lost its status as metropolitan see, while remaining an archdiocese[1].


The clay earth of Urbino, which still supports industrial brickworks, supplied a cluster of earthenware manufactories (botteghe) making the tin-glazed pottery known as maiolica. Simple local wares were being made in the 15th century at Urbino, but after 1520 the Della Rovere dukes, Francesco Maria I della Rovere and his successor Guidobaldo II, encouraged the industry, which exported wares throughout Italy, first in a manner called istoriato using engravings after Mannerist painters, then in a style of light arabesques and grottesche after the manner of Raphael's stanzi at the Vatican. Other centers of 16th century wares in the Duchy of Urbino were at Gubbio and Castel Durante. The great name in Urbino majolica was that of Nicolo Pillipario's son Guido Fontana.

Main sights


Palaces and public edifices

View of the Duomo.
  • The main attraction of Urbino is the Palazzo Ducale, begun in the second half of the 15th century by Federico II da Montefeltro. It houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in the world.
  • Other interesting buildings include Palazzo Albani (17th century), Palazzo Odasi and Palazzo Passionei.
  • The Albornoz Fortress (known locally as La Fortezza), built by the eponymous Papal legate in the 14th century[2]. In 1507-1511, when the Della Rovere added a new series of walls to the city, the rock was enclosed in them. It is now a public park.
  • Raphael's house and monument (1897).


  • The Duomo (cathedral) is a church founded in 1021 over a 6th century religious edifice. The 12th century plan was turned 90 degrees from the current one, which is a new construction also started by Federico II and commissioned to Francesco di Giorgio Martini, author of the Ducal Palace. Finished only in 1604, the Duomo had a simple plan with a nave and two aisles, and was destroyed by an earthquake in 1789. The church was again rebuilt by the Roman architect Giuseppe Valadier, the works lasting until 1801. The new church has a typical neo-classicist appearance, with a majestic dome. It houses a San Sebastian from 1557, an Assumption by Carlo Maratta (1701) and the famous Last Supper by Federico Barocci (1603-1608).
  • The church of San Giovanni Battista, with frescoes by Lorenzo Salimbeni da Sanseverino
  • Sant'Agostino, built in Romanesque style in the 13th century, but largely modified in the following centuries. The façade has a late-14th century almond portal in Gothic-Romanesuqe style, while the interior is greatly decorated. It houses a precious carved choir from the 6th century, manufactured for the marriage of Costanzo Sforza and Camilla of Aragona. The bell tower is from the 15th century.
  • San Francesco (14th century), originally a Gothic-Romanesque edifice of which an 18th century restoration has left only the portico and the bell tower. The interior has a nave and two aisles, and houses the Pardon of St. Francis, a 15th century work by Barocci.
  • The Oratory of San Giuseppe (early 16th century), composed of two chapels: one of which contains a 16th century presepio or Nativity scene by Federico Brandani, the stucco figures are lifesize and highly naturalistic.

Outside the city is the Church of San Bernardino, housing the tombs of the Dukes of Urbino.

Other points of interest

People from Urbino

Federico III da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino. Portrait by Piero della Francesca, 1492.
  • Federico III da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, medieval condottiere and patron of the arts.
  • Elisabetta Gonzaga Duchess of Urbino (1471 - 1526)
  • Donato Bramante was born nearby, and witnessed Laurana's work going up while he was a youth
  • Raphael was born at Urbino, where his family's house is a museum-shrine
  • Paolo Volponi (1924-1994), writer and poet

Others notable people from Urbino include:


  • Negroni, F. (1993). Il Duomo di Urbino. Urbino.  

External links


  1. ^ Catholic Hierarchy page
  2. ^ According to other sources, the castle was instead built by Albornoz's successor as legate in Urbino, Anglico Grimoard (1367-1371)[1]

Images of Urbino Architecture and Townscape:

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


The Duke of Urbino built one of the largest palaces in medieval Italy. Today, from the park above Urbino, one can really visualize a fairytale like Cinderella. It is situated in the Marche region.

Get in

Buses run frequently from the train station in Pesaro (apx. 45min ride)


Sip a cappuccino in the Piazza della Republica, at the center of town. Visit the town museum, which is free and open on weekdays. The Duke's palace is also open to visitors and costs four Euro. It is filled with medieval paintings and statues, but all descriptions are in Italian. Don't miss the basement servant quarters and remember to bring a sweater because it is kept very cold. The bosom Pub is a hot spot for students and often has drink specials. It is especially busy Thursday nights. They play a mixture of Italian and American music. Every Saturday there is a market where you can find just about anythings for a decently low price. This includes clothing,shoes,bedding,fruits,vegetables,seafood and meat. There is also an antique market the first Sunday of every month all other Sundays almost all shops will be closed. All shops are also closed daily between 2-4


Urbino is also well known for its Italian language schools and several prestigious universities.

  • Centro Studi Italiani [1] Italian language school and Italian culture courses for international students. School of italian for foreigners that offers language courses and opera singers courses. The courses are known and acknowledged by foreign universities.


Opposite the Duomo, go to the Piquero Pub to have a drink with local students. Situated in a cellar, it always provides great atmosphere. Cresha's are an Urbino specialty. try one with Prosciutto Crudo and formaggio.

  • Agriturismo Bellavista, Via Sant'Egidio, 25, Urbino (PU) close to village Torre, Tel: 0722.340172 Fax: 0722.340172, double bedroom 45 Euro
  • Bed and Breakfast Urbino Oasi della Pace (Bed and Breakfast Urbino Oasi della Pace - b&b urbino), Via Ca' Pandolfo 30 (Fermignano), 0722 330616, [2]. Between the sea and the mountains, we also find a "hill" situated in the Metauro Valley between Fermignano and Urbania, on the hillside to the right near to the village of San Silvestro. As well as running a farming concern, I also offer bed and breakfast accomodation in a quiet and relaxing setting, inside our new and extremely comfortable family home. The position is perfect for reaching both the Adriatic sea, with Fano, Pesaro and Rimini only 40 minutes' drive away, and the heart of the Apennines in the Marches region (Carpegna, Mount Nerone and Mount Catria) - also a 40-minute drive away. There are also many areas of artistic and cultural interest nearby (Urbania, Urbino, San Marino, San Leo, Gubbio, etc.).  edit
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

URBINO (anc. Urvinum Mataurense), a city and archiepiscopal see of the Marches, Italy, in the province of Pesaro and Urbino, 19 m. direct S.W. of Pesaro and 50 m. by rail N. by W., of Fabriano, a junction on the line from Ancona to Rome. Pop. (1901) 6809 (town), 18,244 (commune). It is picturesquely situated on an abrupt hill 1480 ft. above sea-level; its streets are narrow and crooked, and the town has a medieval aspect. It is dominated by the ducal palace erected by Luciano da Laurana, a Dalmatian architect, in 1460-82, for Federigo Montefeltro, and regarded by the contemporaries of the founder as the ideal of a princely residence. The sculptured doorways, chimneys and friezes of the interior are especially fine. Some are by Domenico Rosselli of Florence, others by Ambrogio d'Antonio da Milano. The rich and beautifully executed intarsia work may be due to Baccio Pontelli. The massive irregularity of the exterior is due to the unevenness of the site. The decoration of the exterior was never completed; but the arcaded courtyard is the finest of the Renaissance, except perhaps that of the Cancelleria at Rome (Burckhardt). The palace is now partly used for government purposes, and also contains the municipal archives, a collection of ancient inscriptions, formed by the epigraphist Raffaele Fabretti (many of them from Rome), a gallery of sculpture of various periods and a picture gallery. This last contains a small but interesting collection of pictures, including works by Paolo Uccello, Giovanni Santi, Justus of Ghent, Timoteo della Vite, and other 15th-century artists, also a "Resurrection" by Titian (a late work). The picture of the "Last Supper" by Justus is specially valuable from its containing fine portraits of the Montefeltro family and members of the ducal court. The cathedral, a building of no special interest, stands in the great piazza close to the ducal palace. It was erected in 1801 after the collapse of the former structure. In the sacristy there is a very beautiful miniature-like painting of the "Scourging of Christ," by Piero della Francesca, and other pictures by later artists. In the crypt there is a fine pieta in marble by Giovanni da Bologna. Opposite the palace is the church of S. Domenico, a Gothic building with a good early Renaissance portal and a relief in the lunette by Luca della Robbia (1449). The interior was spoilt in the 17th century. S. Francesco has a fine 14thcentury loggia and campanile, and a handsome portal of a chapel in the interior by Constantino Trappola (15th century). S. Bernardino, outside the town, is a plain early Renaissance structure. On the walls of the chapel of the gild or confraternity of San Giovanni Battista are some valuable early frescoes, painted by Lorenzo and Giacomo Salimbene da San Severino in 1416. In the church of S. Spirito are two paintings by Luca Signorelli, the "Crucifixion" and the "Day of Pentecost," originally intended for a processional banner. The modest house where Raphael was born and spent his boyhood is preserved. It is now the property of a society of artists. Its rooms form a museum of engravings and other records of Raphael's works, together with a picture of the Madonna by his father, Giovanni Santi, formerly thought to be by Raphael himself. A monument was erected to him in the piazza in 1897. The theatre, decorated by Girolamo Genga, is one of the earliest in Italy; in it was performed the first Italian comedy, the Calandria of Cardinal Bibbiena, the friend of Leo X. and Raphael. The magnificent library formed by the Montefeltro and Della Rovere dukes was removed to Rome, and incorporated in the Vatican library (but with a separate numbering) in 1657. There is a free university founded in 1564 which has two faculties (with 163 students in 1902-03), and also a technical school. The town has manufactures of silk, majolica and bricks.

The ancient town of Urvinum Mataurense (taking its name from the river Mataurus or Metaurus) is mentioned a few times in classical literature, and many inscriptions relating to it exist. The course of its walls can still be traced. It was an important place in the Gothic wars, and is frequently mentioned by Procopius. At the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century it came into the possession of the family of Montefeltro. Of this by far the most important member was Federigo da Montefeltro, lord of Urbino from 1444 to 1482, one of the most successful condottieri chiefs of his time, and not only a man of great military and political ability, but also an enthusiastic patron of art and literature, on which he lavished immense sums of money. Federigo much strengthened his position, first by his own marriage with Battista, one of the powerful Sforza family, and secondly by marrying his daughter to Giovanni della Rovere, the favourite nephew of Pope Sixtus IV., who in return conferred upon Federigo the title of duke. Federigo's only son Guidubaldo, who succeeded his father, married in 1489 the gifted Elizabeth Gonzaga, of the ruling family in Mantua. In 1497 he was expelled from Urbino by Caesar Borgia, son of Alexander VI., but regained his dukedom in 1503, after Caesar's death. Guidubaldo was the last duke of the Montefeltro line; at his death in 1508 he bequeathed his coronet to Francesco Maria della Rovere, nephew of Julius II., and for about a century Urbino was ruled by its second dynasty of the Della Rovere family. In 1626 the last descendant of Francesco, called Francesco Maria II., when old and childless abdicated in favour of Pope Urban VIII., after which time Urbino, with its subject towns of Pesaro, Fano, Fossombrone, Gubbio, Castel Durante, Cagli and about 300 small villages, became part of the papal states until the suppression of the temporal power in 1870.

During the reigns of Federigo and Guidubaldo, Urbino was one of the foremost centres of activity in art and literature in Italy. The palace erected by Federigo has already been mentioned. It was at his court that Piero della Francesca wrote his celebrated work on the science of perspective, Francesco di Giorgio Martini his Trattato d'architettura (published by Saluzzo, Turin, 1841), and Giovanni Santi his poetical account of the chief artists of his time. The refined magnificence of Guidubaldo's court is eloquently described by Baldassare Castiglione in his Cortegiano. When Henry VII. of England conferred the order of the Garter on Guidubaldo, Castiglione was sent to England with a letter of thanks and with the small picture, now in the Louvre, of "St George and the Dragon," painted by Raphael in 1504, as a present to the English king. This painting was among Charles I.'s collection which was sold by order of the Commonwealth in 1649.

Throughout the whole of the 16th century the state of Urbino was one of the chief centres for the production of majolica, especially the towns of Gubbio and Castel Durante. Most of the finest pieces of Urbino ware were made specially for the dukes, who covered their sideboards with the rich storied piatti di pompa. Among the distinguished names which have been associated with Urbino are those of the Ferrarese painter and friend of Raphael, Timoteo della Vite, who spent most of his life there, and Bramante, the greatest architect of his age. The Milanese sculptor, Ambrogio, who worked so much for Federigo, married a lady of Urbino, and was the progenitor of the Baroccio family, among whom were many able mathematicians and painters. Federigo Baroccio, Ambrogio's grandson, was a very popular painter, some of whose works still exist in the cathedral and elsewhere in Urbino. This city was also the birthplace of Pope Clement XI., of several cardinals of the Alban family, and of Bernardino Baldi, Fabretti, and other able scholars. An interesting view of Urbino, in the first half of the 16th century, occurs among the pen drawings in the MSS. Arte del vasajo, by the potter Piccolpasso, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

See also E. Calzini, Urbino e i suoi monuments (1897); G. Lipparini, Urbino (Bergamo, 1903).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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  1. A historic walled-town in the Marche, Italy


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