Visit Urbino Italy – The Renaissance’ ideal city

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Urbino, Le Marche Italy, is a city that has always fascinated us. I have always wanted to visit Urbino to finally see its fine architecture with our own eyes. Not by chance, they call it the Renaissance’s ideal city. 

One year ago, I read how Duke Federico di Montefeltro, a great patron, called the most famous artists of that period to his court. His goal was to build a city whose urban layout would be in perfect perspective rigour and in full classical vision. And as it turns out, its urban layout stood the test of time just fine.

Urbino Italy

Here is what we found in Urbino Italy. Read on if you would like to know more about what things to do  in Urbino and how to get there.

Urbino Le Marche’s Pearl

We are traveling around the Italian region of Le Marche to enjoy the most iconic old towns. In reality, we already planned to visit Urbino, but at a later time. Instead, we followed my instincts and went for a brief tour with a group of local, cheerful people we met in a coffee place. 

On a Sunday, they showed us the many alleys that cross each other in Urbino’s old town. Mostly, I still remember the smell of delicious goodness at every corner. As well as the magnificent panorama that surrounds the city. And lots and lots of art!

If you would like to visit Urbino, here is what you need to know first. No airport is really near Urbino, Italy. As a matter of fact, you are better off taking a train to Pesaro and then catching a bus. Or by car. Starting from Bologna, you can take the highway A14 towards Bologna-Canosa. After two hours, pull off at the Pesaro-Urbino exit.

Luckily, many public pay parking lots surround Urbino. Almost marking the entrance gates to the city, I’d say.

Urbino Italy

Urbino things to do and see

Urbino rises between the Metauro and the Foglia valleys. Basically, it resides in the Marche’s soft hills. 

If you arrive in Urbino Le Marche early in the morning, you will have the possibility of visiting the city in almost perfect solitude. In fact, the cheerful students that turn up during the night hours to have drink and meet their friends usually sleep till late.

When I talk about students, I am referring to one of the oldest universities in Italy and perhaps in Europe. Several young students roam Urbino’s streets from the afternoon onwards, in the many cafes located around the center.

Urbino Le Marche

First, we went to the Ducal’s Palace. This building is not only a palace, but it is also a small fortified city. In 1444, Duke Federico di Montefeltro started to build it to show off against the Medici of Florence, his bitter enemies.

Inside the Ducal’s Palace, we saw the National Gallery of the Marche. To be precise, we went through 80 rooms full of wonderful paintings. If you like Italian art, then you will find many famous artists’ work. For example, paintings of Piero della Francesca, Leon Battista Alberti, and Tiziano.

After that, we headed towards the Cathedral square. Also, Raphael Sanzio’s house in Urbino was great. We ended our journey with the cycle of frescoes by the brothers Lorenzo and Jacopo Salimbeni. You can see them in the San Giovanni’s Oratory.

The best panoramic viewpoint in Urbino Italy

If you want to see Urbino from the most perfect vantage point, you absolutely must go to the Albornoz Fortress. Also known as the green terrace, it was a strategic military place. 

From here, the eye glances around Federico’s palace, the countless streets and squares, and the Urbino churches’ bell towers. Plus, think about the hills that surround the city that extends beyond. 

Here you can not only admire the splendid panorama but also take beautiful photographs. Next, we relaxed in the large green park, which is also a meeting place for all students and citizens that come here at the weekend.

Urbino things to do

When you go there, do not forget to eat some of the local dishes first. I still can remember the delicious dishes rich in flavors and smells. In them, you often find first-rate mushrooms and truffles present in all months of the year! That is the perfect spot to chill out. 

Don’t forget to try the typical for Urbino crescia sfogliata.. This is the town’s golden flatbread. Filled with anything you can think of, you will enjoy every bite of it. Learn more about Urbino’s typical dish, its origin and how to make it. 

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