Urbania

Questa scheda è collegata a: Cities, Towns & Villages

Since the times of the Romans, this lovely little town of about 7000 inhabitants has changed its name nearly four times, the current name is dated on the 1636 when it replaced Casteldurante, chosen by Federico da Montefeltro as an Urbino annex.

Along its ancient streets and walls you can really breathe History. Urbania is also famous for its Ceramics craft tradition, in fact this is the seat for workshops schools and laboratories for professionals of this field. A particular feature is its Mummies cemetery, a very rare things that you won’t happen to see again….Anyway not only mummies makes this town alive, it’s really full of young people attending Italian Language courses or ceramics workshops.

THINGS TO SEE
The Palazzo ducale (Duke’s Palace), built by  Federico II da Montefeltro and planned by its loyal architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini. This is an absolute renaissance masterpiece and combines a very tough structure with elegant and pompous halls. The honour Yard reminds the one in Urbino while the ribbed vaults of the Sala Maggiore and the Sala dei Cavalieri are unique. In the latter you will find the Earth and Sky globes by the great renaissance geographer Marcator. Then you can also enjoy a wonderful view on the surrounding hills, the Metauro river and the medieval quarters of the town.

Federico II da Montefeltro wanted a summer palace worthy of a king: that’s why he planned the Barco Ducale, the game reserve of the king surrounded by a luxuriant nature and linked to the Palace by a one-mile torrent that the guests used to navigate on a boat. Built in 1465, the Barco fascinated the whole renaissance intellectual universe and it was pompously described by Vasari and Torquato Tasso in its Gerusalemme liberata.

The original structure has been transformed across the centuries, in the same way as the surrounding area. Once it was covered with oaks and cedars while today it appears a wide sowed field. Anyway today you can still visit the interiors of the Barco and let you charm by the romance and poetry of the place.

The Church of Dead is not a place for everybody and not particularly attractive. But if you visit the town you can’t help visiting the church and the backdoor of its altar. Here you have a room where 18 naturally mummified bodies are kept. After a Napoleonic edict, that prohibited city cemeteries, they were taken out of their graves behind the church and placed there under a thick glass were they can be admired. If you ask the keeper of the church, he will tell you the story of every single mummy.

THINGS TO TRY

Ceramics is the tradition of the place. In the mid ‘500 in Casteldurante there were about 40 ovens and 150 majolica makers. The reason is simple, the forests gave a wide quantity of good wood, the river gave clay, copper, iron and manganese necessary to make colours. Today Urbania is the first Marche’s town boasting the title of Ceramics city. Here, besides assisting the manufacturing process, you can also participate in a series of difficult workshops.

CURIOSITY
Over the last thirty years Urbania has been the town of the Befana (Epiphany). Before the epiphany, you can find the old granny in her tiny house receiving the letters of children asking for gifts till the 5th of January: at night the town gets packed with old grannies from all around Italy and they celebrate Epiphany with a great popular feast .
Urbania was considered by the Montefeltro and the Della Rovere a place full of delicious things, that’s why they wanted to build a direct road that allowed them to reach the town from Urbino in only three hours.

 
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