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yuliangpang Urbino - A travel report by yuliang
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Urbino,  Italy - flag Italy
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yuliangpang's travel reports

The Hometown of Raphael Sanzio

  11 votes
Page: 1 2
Wikipedia says and I quote "Urbino is a walled city, a World Heritage Site notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482".

the self Portait of Raphael Sanzio
the self Portait of Raphael Sanzio
Every few people here who has a little bit knowledge of art will not feel strange to Raphael Sanzio, the great italian painter and architect of the Renaissance, who together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci forms the so-called traditional trinity of great maters of that period. But I think there are many friends here who do not know that Urbino is the hometown of Raphael, which in fact adding the name of this small town hiding in the mountains of Appins. Despite this great son Raphael, Urbino has something more worthy of a visit, Palazzo Ducale or Duke Palace in English is an impressive mediaeval heritage which makes Urbino one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy. Unfortunately it is not easy to get there, because there is no direct train, you have to stop at Pesaro first and then take buses to get there. It seems to be a quite troublesome journey, but it does deserve those who may have the same enthusiasm as a real travelist or artist might make whoever endeavors he can to see an extraordinary place!

But sometime those strong enthusiasm may be quenched by the physical difficulty. I have been planing to visit Urbinio over the past 2 years, but everytime when I realized that the fact I had better drive the car to get there, I became so hesitated, I hated to drive in Italy. Maybe in this sense I am not a real travellor, because I am lacking the great quality that a real travellor has: adventurousness. After a long struggle, I finally succeeded in persuading myself to show the potential for being an adventurist and then make the first step for becoming a real travorist.

I had to admit I am becoming more or less fond and additive to drive the car at very high speed after I have stayed in Italy for a while. Therefore the journey to Urbino by own transportation was not so difficult as expected, actually it was full of joy, the fresh air, the beatiful flowers along the road, which all gave me an illusion that I was driving in the garden at a speed of 140

Favourite spots:
cathedral of Urbino
cathedral of Urbino
Urbino is not so big as what you may expect, even though it is the third most populous city in Marche, it has only a population of 15,000. If you can well manage your time, you may finish your all-round trip with in 3 hours. Almost all the buildings of the city are made of red brick, which not only make the city very colorful and clean at the backdrop of blue sky and white cloud, but also add some strong and wonderful atmosphere to this great city of art.

The center of city lies in Piazza Duca Federico, where you may find the cathedral as the picture on your right side shows. The cathedral has nothing special. On the other side of the Square stands Urbino's most selling viewpoint, Palazzo Ducale. The palace has been changed into a Museum, exhibiting the pictures of Raphael as well as his fauther, Giovanni Santi and others. There is nothing more than that in it. It is a little bit expensive, 10 Euro. Therefore if you do not really appreciate paintings, you may simply skip it.

What's really great:
Duke Palace, Palazzo Ducale
Duke Palace, Palazzo Ducale
What's really great for photographers is the park that is opposite to the Palazzo Ducale, which offers you an excellent panoramtic view of the palace and the whole city. The park is called Parco della Resistenza or Punto Panoramico (point of Panorama), which becomes a very crowded retailing market during the weekend. There is a point called Fortezza Albornoz which proves to be the best place for appreciating the beauty of the city. When I got there, the flowers were in blossom. I could not call on the name of the those white flowers, but they did add something lovely to the simple palace. I was quite jealous of those people who were just simply laying on the grass, somewhere in the trees of blossom, imagine what a perfect day it would be! I am always dreaming that kind of life. I have no doubt that you have the samething deep in your mind as I do.

Palazzo Ducale from Punto Panoramico
Palazzo Ducale from Punto Panoramico
Though the map of city has marked 59 places for the purpose of tourism, you may find yourself a little bit disappointed after you finish seeing the Palazzo Ducale, I mean to have a good look at it both closely and distantly from the museum and the park or fortress as above mentioned. Because all the other places are either too small or a little bit difficult to find. The whole city stretches along the slope of the mountain, it does take some efforts to really explore it. I did try to follow the map to visit all the places one by one, but I finally gave up and just wandered along the streets without any particular purposes. And I found my own fun there. Sometimes I did need to explore the city in a way without any purposes, but I has already got used to following the map, and I found I was bound by that. Because when you did follow the map and got the place as marked on it, if you found it was not as you expected, you would feel extremely disappointed. Urbino is definitely such a place.

You will lose a complete picture about Urbino if you not learn better Raphael or Raffaello better after your visit, because you will find there are too many things in Urbino about him, which give you a strong impression that how much pride the local people take of him. There is a road named after him, Via Raffaello in the center of Urbino, on which you will find Casa Raffaello (home of Raphael). At the end of the road it is Piazza Roma, where stands a monument for him, in Italian it is called Monumento Raffaello.

Momento Raffaello
Momento Raffaello
What you see above is the self-portrait of Raphael when he was at the age of 12. It was this portait that made his father realize his son's great talent in painting and decided to send him somewhere to learn from the masters at that time.

Raphael was very short-lived, he died at the age of 37, but he was very productive and left numerous works. The cause of his death was interesting, it was said that he had an excessive sexual life with his girl friend all over the night, for which he caught cold. But when he came to see the doctor, he hided the truth and did not tell the doctor the real cause and then the doctor gave him the wrong medicine, which finally killed him. It is a pity that the world lost such a talented person in such a way. I am just wondering Why all the talented people do not care about themselves! Maybe they do not realize that they do not belong to themselves any more if you are so loved by people. Chinese say:God is always jealous of the genius! That's true.

Fortezza Albornoz
Fortezza Albornoz
Piazza della Repubblica is the place for local people as well as travellors to have some food or drink just for relaxation. Many bars are around it. On Saturday it changes into a morning market, people sell flowers and any other stuff there. Just a few steps away you will find Piazza S. Francesco. It seems to be a nice place to hang around for some local things too. But the real market is at Piazza Roma, you just need to follow Via Raffaello at the very end you will get it. But it is more crowded. But the best place to hang out is Fortezza Albornoz, where you will find incredible view, meanwhile enjoying some bears at a bar in the corner of the park.

Via Raffaello
Via Raffaello
I managed to find some information from the website about the accomodation and restraunts. Just for your reference, hope it will be helpful for you. the website is:
If you get there by car, you may think of the Agritourism, you will enjoy the peaceful life of Marche and Alps.

Other recommendations:
Raphael and his hometown
Raphael and his hometown
Urbino is not big enough, but it will be just perfect for a day trip if you have to rely on the public transport. But if you can travel by your own transport, you need to look for some nice places nearby to make your day full, Gubbio is a good choice, it stands on the way when you drive back to rome. But you are coming from different direction, you may think of some other places, and you can get the information from the tourist office in Urbino. There is one at Piazza Duca Federico.

Published on Monday April 20th, 2009

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Mon, Jun 15 2009 - 09:33 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Beautiful and didactic report !

Thu, Apr 23 2009 - 02:28 AM rating by louis

As always, first class report

Tue, Apr 21 2009 - 05:14 PM rating by murrayskinner

I love Italy - beautiful report

Tue, Apr 21 2009 - 12:52 PM rating by eirekay

Great report and such a wonderful perspective! I admire your bravery - I shudder at the thought of driving in Italy!

Tue, Apr 21 2009 - 11:50 AM rating by krisek

Yuliang, another fine report with plenty of interesting information. So you did not stay in Urbino over night? And did not go out, ha? Just wondered how the cafe scenery looked like. Uh, how can God be jealous? Surely God can create absolutely anything and everything perfect. Right?

Tue, Apr 21 2009 - 01:23 AM rating by jacko1

An excellent and very well detailed report, it makes interesting reading for all travellers, well composed.

Mon, Apr 20 2009 - 09:39 PM rating by pesu

Many years before I had a little conversation with a nice shopkeeper in Cattolica/Adria who gave me the advice to visit Urbino (45 km away). I loved it a lot to drive through a marvellous landscape in June and to find this beautiful small town on its hill. It can be one of the magic places...
Thanks, Yuliang, for sharing this personal report and bringing back great memories. It might be a bit confusing to allude to 'the Alps', instead of the Apennines. Fantastic pictures!

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