Passions & Places

Urbino, UNESCO World Heritage Site


Urbino, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Urbino, Patrimonio UNESCO

Province of Pesaro Urbino

Le Marche

Those who arrive in Urbino unaware of its history and of its importance will find themselves facing an extraordinary surprise or, better still, a miracle.
In the lie of the hills that form the backdrop to the approach roads, there appears an enchanted castle that has not been defaced nor tarnished by time. It is a leap back in time, a plunge into the purity and the liberty of the spirit. Carlo Bo

A cradle and centre of history, culture and art, Urbino has, over the centuries, been able to skillfully preserve and promote its role as a ‘cultural capital’. Its historical nucleus – richly set among the bastioned walls and characterised by the homogenous fabric of the narrow alleyways and steep steps, elegant palaces and austere churches – fosters the most wonderful expression of the ideal balance and harmony of the Renaissance: the Ducal Palace (a real architectural masterpiece, conceived by the intelligence and originality of Luciano Laurana at the request of Federico da Montefeltero), which, with its high towers, splendid cour d’honneur and great staircase, appears in all its evocative charm to astonished visitors.

It is no accident, therefore, that this city (Rafael’s Ideal City, which since the Renaissance has held the role of a political and intellectual crossroads, so important that it profoundly influences cultural developments in the whole of Europe) would become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, as an exceptional example of the harmonious union between architecture and landscape (together with its innate capacity for cultural and human exchange), preserved and renovated over the course of history.

The will and capacity of the people of Urbino – not only to conserve but also to develop over time the diverse consuming beauty of their own region – are actually alive and palpable throughout the entire province, whose inhabitants, inspired by a profound culture of hospitality, have been able to improve an unparalleled artistic and naturalistic site through meticulous care of precious urban centres steeped in history, resolute environmental protection and promotion of the most typical products.

Because of this and for many other reasons, in the province of Pesaro and Urbino there are no fewer than three municipalities that can boast about being honoured with the Bandiera Arancione (Orange Flag), a mark of eco-tourism quality that Touring Club Italiano assigns (after careful evaluations carried out every two years) to small localities of the hinterland that distinguish themselves through their excellence services and outstanding hospitality.

Gradara, for example, characterised by its exceptional integrity and the beauty of its ancient settlement (it is recognised with a Bandiera Arancione also for being one of the best-preserved medieval structures in Italy), offers visitors the chance to enjoy the fascinating art history itineraries (culminating in the admiration of the splendid Rocca) through an efficient, informative service and a ‘pedestrian scale’ road system.

The care and homogeneity of the evocative historic centre of Mercatello sul Metauro, achieved by workers from the area through respectful conservation operations aimed at that the development of eco-tourism excellence and brought together by its inhabitants’ sincere vocation for hospitality, make this small town a place that is capable of inspiring great emotions.

The Bandiera Arancione has also been awarded to Mondavio, which is surrounded by intact walls – framed by a breathtaking panorama – which for centuries have guarded the Della Rovere Castle; prominent towers; and delightful steeples around which life continues to flow with particular vitality. The protection and improvement of this beautiful village, along with the hospitality of its inhabitants, make this place a precious treasure that one would hate to conceal: those who want to, can discover its many wonders and inviting offers thanks to websites that provide a complete and broad description.

And it is really through their natural predisposition for hospitality that the people from the province of Pesaro and Urbino have been able to create such a close network of widespread hotels – accommodating places (often created through the development and improvement of buildings located in the heart of historic centres) characterised as being small components spread throughout the same urban nucleus. In doing so, they are able offer visitors (without abandoning normal hotel and catering services) the opportunity of really breathing the life of these villages that are so steeped in history and beauty, as they interweave daily life with the straightforwardness and sincerity of the inhabitants, in the same capacity as the cultural and human exchange that has made Urbino a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Special Thanks to:

Province of Pesaro Urbino

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