Urbino is a hilltop city in the north of Le Marche.
It is an absolute Renaissance jewel and the birthplace of Raphael (Raffaello), one of the most important artists of this period.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Urbino is worth a visit purely for its beauty, but our main reason this time was to see an important exhibition of Raphael’s early works.
We went with my New Yorker friend D. and her niece.
The exhibition was held in the Ducal Palace of Federico da Montefeltro who, more often than not, is portrayed in profile. This is probably due to his very distinctive nose. His most famous portrait is this one by Piero della Francesca.
We also visited his house.
It is a town house with an inner courtyard and well. Simply finished and perfectly detailed. Everything in a pure style without any fancy flourishes.
It’s the sort of place I’m sure the Pre-Raphaelite William Morris would have approved of even though he differed from Raffaello’s school of art.
“Raffaello e Urbino” closes on 12th July 2009, but you can visit the Duke’s Palace which houses the National Gallery of Le Marche at any time, together with Raphael’s house.
More information on the sites of Urbino are given here.
Since I wrote this post, D. brought my attention to this article in the New York Times