Facts and Data
Unesco World heritage since: 1998
Size of heritage: 29 ha
- Buffer zone: 3,609 ha
The small hill town of Urbino, in the Marche, experienced a great cultural flowering in the 15th century, attracting artists and scholars from all over Italy and beyond, and influencing cultural developments elsewhere in Europe. Owing to its economic and cultural stagnation from the 16th century onwards, it has preserved its Renaissance appearance to a remarkable extent.
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Historic Centre of Urbino: A Timeless Gem in Italy
The Historic Centre of Urbino, located in the Province of Pesaro in the Marche Region of Italy, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the rich history and cultural significance of this enchanting city. With its well-preserved Renaissance architecture and its association with renowned figures such as Raphael, Urbino stands as a testament to the artistic and intellectual achievements of the Italian Renaissance.
A Glimpse into History
Urbino's history dates back to the Roman era, but it flourished during the 15th century under the rule of the Montefeltro family. The city became a center of humanist culture and attracted scholars, artists, and architects from all over Europe. The Montefeltro dukes, particularly Federico da Montefeltro, played a pivotal role in transforming Urbino into a hub of artistic and intellectual excellence.
The architectural masterpiece of the Historic Centre of Urbino is the Palazzo Ducale, the Ducal Palace. This grand palace, designed by Luciano Laurana, showcases the harmonious blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles. Its stunning courtyard, elegant loggias, and intricate decorations make it a true marvel of Renaissance architecture.
Another notable landmark within the historic center is the Oratory of St. John the Baptist, a small chapel adorned with exquisite frescoes by Luca Signorelli. These frescoes depict scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist and are considered some of Signorelli's finest works.
The Legacy of Raphael
Urbino is also renowned for being the birthplace of one of the greatest artists of all time, Raphael. Born in 1483, Raphael grew up in Urbino and was heavily influenced by the artistic environment of the city. His father, Giovanni Santi, was a painter at the court of the Montefeltro family, and Raphael's early exposure to art played a crucial role in shaping his talent.
Today, visitors can explore the Casa Natale di Raffaello, Raphael's birthplace, which has been transformed into a museum dedicated to his life and works. The museum houses a collection of paintings, drawings, and personal belongings that provide insight into the artistic journey of this prodigious painter.
The Current State of the Historic Centre
The Historic Centre of Urbino has been meticulously preserved, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience the splendor of the Renaissance era. The city's narrow streets, lined with well-preserved buildings, create an atmosphere of timeless beauty.
Efforts have been made to protect and conserve the architectural heritage of Urbino. Strict regulations are in place to ensure that any restoration work adheres to the original design and materials used during the Renaissance period. This commitment to preservation has earned Urbino its UNESCO World Heritage status.
Today, the Historic Centre of Urbino continues to attract visitors from around the world who come to admire its architectural treasures, immerse themselves in its rich history, and pay homage to the artistic legacy of Raphael. The city's vibrant cultural scene, with its numerous museums, art galleries, and festivals, further enhances its appeal as a destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Historic Centre of Urbino stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Italian Renaissance and serves as a reminder of the remarkable achievements of human creativity and intellect.
Hotels and places to stay
Hotel Mamiani & Ki-Spa
Piero della Francesca
Country House Ca' Vernaccia
Videos from the area
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Medium airport - 20 mi (33 km) Ancona / Falconara Airport
Medium airport - 37 mi (60 km) Forlì Airport
Medium airport - 43 mi (69 km) Perugia / San Egidio Airport
Medium airport - 44 mi (71 km) Arezzo Airport
Small airport - 44 mi (71 km) Ravenna Airport
Medium airport - 49 mi (79 km) Firenze / Peretola Airport
Medium airport - 72 mi (116 km) Bologna / Borgo Panigale Airport
Large airport - 87 mi (141 km) Rieti Airport
Small airport - 90 mi (146 km) Venezia / Tessera - Marco Polo Airport
Large airport - 124 mi (200 km) Ciampino Airport
Large airport - 133 mi (215 km) Leonardo Da Vinci (Fiumicino) International Airport
Large airport - 134 mi (216 km) Treviso / Sant'Angelo Airport
Large airport - 135 mi (217 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Isola del Piano
- Macerata Feltria
- Mercatino Conca
- Montecalvo in Foglia
- Montefiore Conca
- Morciano di Romagna
- San Clemente
- Sant'Angelo in Lizzola
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Ca' l'Agostina
- Ca' la Ninetta
- Casino Noci
- Castello di Cavallino
- Giardino della Galla
- Il Caldese
- Il Palazzone
- La Torre
- Monte Calende
- Pallino II
- Ponte in Foglia
- San Cipriano
- San Donato
- San Marino di Urbino
- San Patrignano
- Villa Cal Frate
- Villa Maria
- Villa di Schieti