About Urbino

The walled city of Urbino, a time capsule  tucked away in the hills near Italy’s upper  Adriatic coast, may give a better idea of what  life in the Renaissance must have been like  than all the monuments and collections of Florence and Rome.
– Paul Hofmann, The New York Times

Urbino is a picturesque Renaissance hill town and the cultural gem of the Marche region of central Italy. Although Urbino was a Roman and medieval city, its peak came during the 15th century when Duke Federico da Montefeltro established one of Europe’s most illustrious courts. Its impressive Ducal Palace houses one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in Italy. Urbino’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is very much alive with the daily activities of the citizens as they pick up groceries at a neighborhood shop or stroll in the evening with a gelato in hand.

Like Harrisonburg, Urbino is a college town. During the academic year the 20,000 students outnumber the full-time residents, which number approximately 16,000. Most of the town’s amenities are concentrated in, or just outside the city center and easily accessible by foot or city bus.

Google Maps has excellent Street View coverage of Urbino. Check it out and you won’t be able to wait to board the plane to Italy.


Palazzo Ducale, is one of the most impressive (and also the first) in Italy. The Ducal Palace was built in the second half of the fifteenth century. Top sites are the impressive Courtyard of Honor, the Duke’s study with stunning trompe l’oeil inlaid woodwork panels, and the vast network of kitchens, laundry rooms, cellars, and stables. It’s easy to spend several hours wandering through the palace and two museums, the National Gallery and the Archaeological Museum.


Inside the Ducal Palace, the National Art Gallery of the Marche, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, has one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in the world.

ca. 1494-1510 — The Communion of the Apostles. Painting by Giusto di Gand, conserved at the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino, National Gallery of Le Marche.


The Renaissance painter Raphael was born in Urbino (in 1483) and his family’s house is now a museum.


The Duomo or cathedral was constructed on top of a sixth century religious building. Completed in 1604, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1789 and then rebuilt. The duomo now has a neo-classical appearance and houses several important art works, including a painting of the Last Supper by Federico Barocci. The Museo Diocesano has a collection of glass, ceramics, and religious items.


The center of Urbino is formed by these squares. Here you’ll find cafes, shops,entertainment and lots of people.