situated between the valleys of the Metauro and Foglia Rivers, stands
on two hills that are 451 metres above sea level. It offers
breathtaking panoramic views, sweeping from the green hills to the
majestic mountains beyond. The old town centre covers little more than
a square kilometre and is enclosed within fortified walls entirely
built in brick. The centre of the town is shaped like an elongated
rhomboid and is divided by two main roads that are almost perpendicular
to each other (Via Mazzini and Via Cesare Battisti on the one hand and
Via Raffaello and Via Veneto on the other). The roads cross in the main
square (Piazza della Repubblica), a popular meeting place for locals
and students alike. The municipality includes a number of quarters that
are just a few hundred metres from the old town centre (such as
Piansevero and Mazzaferro) and several small, outlying villages a few
kilometres away (such as Trasanni, Gadana, Schieti and Canavaccio), all
linked by public transport. The municipal territory covers a total area
of 227.9 square kilometres with a population of 18,000 inhabitants.
Urbino has extremely ancient origins. In fact, the name Urvinum probably derives from the Latin term urvus (urvum is the curved handle of a plough). The town’s most illustrious figures include Guido il Vecchio, a famous and fiery Ghibelline who Dante Alighieri (in the 27th Canto of his Inferno) meets amongst the councillors: “a man of arms at first, I clothed me then in good Saint Francis’ girdle hoping so to have made amends… less my deeds besake the nature of the lion than the fox.”
In (circa) 1375 Antonio da Montefeltro, one of the leading soldiers and politicians of the second half of the 14th century and a man capable of causing unrest and reaping the maximum benefit from rivalries between others, succeeded in entering the Italian political scene of the time by uniting with Florence and Milan in 1379 and becoming a close friend of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. Thanks to his increased prestige, in 1390 Pope Boniface VIII acknowledged him with all its possessions. This had beneficial consequences for the town too as it was finally able to lift itself from the state of confusion in which it was floundering due to constant battles, experiencing a revival in culture and construction that began the town’s unstoppable ascent under the rule of his great nephew Federico. In fact, he was responsible for the construction of the family palace, which today houses the town’s university, as well as establishing initial contacts with the world of culture that led to important artistic works.
It is possible to visit Urbino in a number of ways. Carlo Bo wrote that “you should visit the town without following an established order but starting, for example, at Albornoz fortress on one of the two hills that form the town (…) (or) reaching the palace and studying and admiring the great engineering work that made it possible for Duke Federico to create this miracle (…) or, if you choose to pass through the main gate, or Valbona Gate, by reaching the square and, within just a few minutes, the heart of the city.” Those who prefer something more orderly can follow one of the recommended itineraries that, although not fully comprehensive of all the places there are to visit, provide useful suggestions.
descrizione dell'offerta in lingua inglese