The city of Urbino has ancient origins and the Poggio, the hill where “Urvinum Mataurense” was built, was inhabited since prehistoric times. It then became a Roman municipality probably after the “Lex Julia Municipalis” that Julius Caesar launched in 48 BC.

The name Urvinum seems to derive from urvum (curved plough handle), rather than from urbs bina – double city – as has been proposed, while the adjective Mataurense refers to the Metauro river which flows near to the town. Urvinum developed along the Via Consolare, an alternative road to the Via Flaminia. Its position was strategic due to its proximity to the Furlo gorge and to the Via Flaminia itself: an important axis of connection between Rome and northern Italy.

Like most of the Marches, the territory of Urbino has also been the scene of the bloody Gothic war and, in 538 AD, the city was conquered by the Byzantine general Belisarius. Annexed to the Exarchate of Ravenna, it was part of the Pentapolis, a province that controlled the transit routes for Umbria, Rome, and Tuscany.

With the Franks, Urbino fell under the formal domination of the Papacy and was later involved in the conflicts between the feudal lords of Montefeltro, among which the counts of Carpegna stood out. It too became a free commune, although the nobles of the surrounding area always tried to control it by becoming podesta.

Arts town known throughout the world as the birthplace of Raffaello Sanzio and as the site of one of the most splendid Renaissance courts in Italy, it is situated on two high hills between the Metauro and Foglia valleys, south of the historical region of Montefeltro. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Urbino has a splendid fifteenth-century historic centre characterized by the superb Palazzo Ducale, now home to the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, and boasts numerous cultural institutions and an ancient University founded in 1506.







To better discover this wonderful city, Italian pride, we suggest losing the sense of direction without ever really getting lost in the narrow and steep alleys along the city walls, which will lead you to the discovery of unexpected treasures. Let yourself be enchanted by the Cathedral of Urbino and the whole city in an itinerary that will lead you to the monuments and the magical history of this place suspended in time.