HomeAccent SymposiaAccent Symposium 2013InformationsThe VenueSome information about Urbino

"Whoever comes to Urbino without knowing its history and its importance finds himself before an extraordinary surprise, or indeed, a miracle. In the midst of the spectacle ofthe hills along which the access roads run an enchanted palace left untouched by the passing of time appears suddenly. It is a leap back into time, a dive into the purity and freedom of the soul". With these words Carlo Bo, one the most eminent voices of Italian culture, captures the essence of this town, ascribed in the UNESCO World Heritage, situated in the middle of Italy not far from the Adriatic coast but totally immerged in a magic surrounding of gentle hills.

Although the town was founded during Roman times, it was under Federico II da Montefeltro, Count and then Duke, that Urbino reached its greatest period of artistic splendour. Driven by the desire of offering an image of cultural grandeur rather than military power Federico called the most outstanding artists of the period (Luciano Laurana, Leon Battista Alberti, Francesco di Giorgio Martini) to expand and develop the medieval residence of his family into a magnificent architectural masterpiece, which now houses the prestigious Galleria Nazionale delle Marche with fundamental works of art such as "Città Ideale" (Ideal city), "Flagellation" and "Madonna of Senigallia" by Piero della Francesca, "La Muta" by Raphael, "Profanazione dell'Ostia" by Paolo Uccello as well as works of Titian, Luca Signorelli, and Federico Barocci.

This extraordinary palace is surrounded by plenty of evidence showing the long artistic and cultural history of Urbino: walking around the hilly streets and alleyways the greatness of the past reflects itself in many different places, like the neo-Palladian Cathedral, rebuilt by Valadier after a terrible earthquake in 1784, the church of San Domenico, with its magnificent portal, built in travertine stone, over which a copy of a lunette by Luca della Robbia stands, the medieval church of San Francesco with its fine pointed Gothic bell tower and its great altar-piece by Federico Barocci, the various oratories (in particular that ofSan Giuseppe with its famous 'Presepe' (Nativity Scene) by Brandani), Palazzo Albani (15th-18th centuries), the nearby Church of Santo Spirito (16th Century) the birthplace of Raphael, which now houses the Accademia Raffaello Sanzio, founded in 1869, and many others.
Further up Fortezza Albornoz stands, from the battlements of which you can have a breath-taking sight of the entire town and the neighbouring hills, one of which shows the church of San Bernardino (15th Century), which houses the Mausoleum of the Dukes. Although time seems not to have passed since the Renaissance, Urbino has developed into a modern town especially thanks to its famous university which can count more than 16,000 students divided among the 11 faculties most of them located in the historical centre. The number of students has almost doubled that of the citizens and has created a unique example of"town-campus", a town transformed into a campus from the morning until late in night.

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