Assisi to Urbino – 224 km (train & bus) &
6323 & 1 day 7427 Fit Bit steps
Had viruses not intervened we had hoped to spend a few days walking part of the Way of St. Francis (Via Francigena di San Francesco), a pilgrimage route that follows an old Roman road between Florence and Rome. Instead, we boarded a train for Urbino, home of Raphael and another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The railway followed the coast of Le Marche, lined with holiday resorts and long sandy beaches, deserted now in late October despite the sunshine. Thirty kms inland, Urbino is, by contrast, bustling with university students. According to the UNESCO site, the small hill town experienced «a great cultural flowering in the 15th century, attracting artists and scholars from all over Italy and beyond, and influencing cultural developments elsewhere in Europe ». The Renaissance appearance of the town was preserved primarily due to its economic and cultural stagnation from the 16th century onwards! Fortunately, the University gained a different status in the 1920s, enrollment increased and it was able to upgrade a number of buildings for its use.
Urbino is also defined by Raphael, his father Giovanni Santi, who was a painter in the court of the Duke of Urbino, and the Duke himself. Disappointingly, the town has very little evidence of Raphael’s work. The only two original Raphael works in Urbino are La Muta, which has characteristics shared with the contemporary Mona Lisa, and a fresco painted by the young Raphaello on the wall of his birthplace. While we avoided including Rome in this itinerary, we now regret not having seen the Raphael rooms at the Vatican. It will have to be the object of a future visit!
The Palazzo Ducale is a triptych of museums.The rooms of the Palace are preserved and retain some of the original doors as well as amazingly intricate wood-inlay technique known as intarsia. On the exterior, the three storeyed loggia and towers are worth seeing.
Dinner at the Ristorante Antica Osteria De La Stella was Michelin worthy!
Coffee notes: River coffee 8.75+/ 10 (Urbino). Rio Rica coffee 8.75/ 10 (Urbino)