"It's worth trying to find Urbino" Top 5 Page for this destination Urbino by Bunsch

Urbino Travel Guide: 55 reviews and 163 photos

Which roads lead to...I don't want to go to Rome?!

No one could say we weren't fully equipped. We had Frommer's, Michelin, Rick Steves (all with maps), plus a fairly decent country map from the Avis place. Frommer's cautioned that many people preferred not to attempt to reach Urbino via the most obvious road, south of Rimini, because it was so challenging. We'd been on a few challenging roads and were immediately daunted, so we decided to take Frommer's advice and come in via Pesaro. Except in the standard way of these things...you couldn't get there from here. At least, there were no signs explaining HOW to do it. When we realized we'd gone too far, we tried to backtrack. We saw some very beautiful land south and west of Fano, but seemed to be getting further and further afield (none of the signs we reached said anything about Urbino, but we had plenty of guidance if we wanted to go to Rome).

Finally, by sheer luck, we stumbled onto the correct road. I do have to say that if this was the EASIER route, I can't imagine how challenging it must be to enter Urbino by the other road.

Luckily, for those who've simply had it with all those windy-twisty hairpin turns, Urbino has exceptionally limited parking within the walls. People are encouraged to park "down below" and take the handy elevator to get up to the level of the Palazzo Ducale. You really do want to do this because if you happen to be staying at a hotel with parking within the walls...it means you've got to get your car up there, and then back down. A harrowing prospect!

Why bother, anyway?

Although Urbino was founded as a Roman and then medieval city, the high point came during the in the mid-1400s when a condottiore, ultimately made Duke Federico da Montefeltro, established one of Europe's most illustrious courts in the middle of absolutely nowhere. The Palazzo Ducale houses one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in Italy, and would have more except that the last of the Monteltri married a Medici and took as much art as she could carry down to Florence, where it wound up in the Uffizi. Minute for minute, Urbino may have been the most rewarding stop on our Italian adventures. The major draw is the Palazzo and it is quite astonishing. I'll say more in the tip, but it is well worth spending a couple of hours in mute admiration. There are other sights to see, and lovely little shops, and places to sit with an espresso and cornetto simply enjoying the passing crowd. (There is a university in Urbino, so the crowd is quite entertaining.) Oh, and I forgot food! Try some of the specialties of the Marche region, of which Urbino is the capital. You may be only two hours from Ravenna but it might as well be a different world.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Astonishing art collection
  • Cons:Very hard to get there
  • Last visit to Urbino: Jul 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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