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A place of charm. A journey through time. A high profile city. History, culture, landscape, traditions and food and wine. The Duke of Urbino,  Federico da Montefeltro (1422-1482), is portrayed in the famous diptych by Piero della Francesca with the Duchess Battista Sforza.  To see it, solemnly like on an ancient coin, with a wonderful and wide landscape in the background, it is presented with the peculiarity of a large nose.

As in the depiction of him as an example of Renaissance man, the Duke must certainly have trusted the intelligence and culture of those around him. As evidenced by supporting the art of  men such as Piero della Francesca, Luciano Laurana, Leon Battista Alberti, Francesco di Giorgio Martini. In Urbino they nurtured art in the young minds of Raffaello and Bramante.

Urbino is a city with so much to be discovered, such as the studio in the superb and characteristic Palazzo Ducale commissioned by the Montefeltro.  The palace today is the National Gallery of the Marche, hosting among other things, a wonder of masterpieces such as: Città Ideale by Leon Battista Alberti and Luciano Laurana, the Communion of the Apostles by Justus Van Ghent and the Miracolo dell’ostia Profanata by Paolo Uccello; there are sixteenth-century tapestries as well as sketches and paintings by Raffaello,such as  “La Muta" Also of note are “La Resurrezione” and”L’Ultima Cena” by Tiziano.

Walking through its narrow streets there are the many details and fountains and there is the "Albani" Diocesan Museum and the home of Raffaello, where visitors can see the “Annunciazione” painted by his father who was his first master . The art tour continues with the Plaster Cast Museum, Botanical Garden and the Museum of Engraving.

The Church of St Bernard, is a renaissance testimony, along with the seventeenth-century church of Santo Spirito, the churches of St Francis and St. Dominic, the cathedral was reconstructed by Giuseppe Valadier. The eighteenth-century Palazzo Albani is a fantastic princely home and the small churches are treasure troves of art and religion.

The tradition of art and craftsmanship is breathtaking and one can see for oneself strolling along, invoked by the scents of local cuisine, from soups to roasts, fresh cheese and local prosciutto ham. Not to mention the vegetables from the surrounding countryside.

Urbino is a lively cultural centre and a university town with thousands of events throughout the year. On one of these evenings one can imagine the Duke and the Duchess still enjoying the art around, and would surely be willing to chat while enjoying a good local wine. Urbino is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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