The Ducal Palace in Urbino: one of the most beautiful works of the Renaissance
Refinement in detail, love of culture, architectural perfection: in the Ducal Palace of Urbino, nothing is left to chance.
This symbolic work of the Renaissance was commissioned by Federico di Montefeltro, patron, humanist, skilful leader and lord of the Duchy from 1444 to 1482. The desire to reaffirm his military might and the desire to emphasise the elegance of his court went hand in hand. The result is a huge, imposing, geometrically perfect building, studied in every aspect.
The work of the great masters
There are not many writings or documents on the Ducal Palace of Urbino that follow and narrate its construction phases. What is certain is that first-class craftsmen participated in the construction of the building, starting with the three architects: the Florentine Maso di Bartolomeo, the Dalmatian Luciano Laurana and the Sienese Francesco Di Giorgio Martini.
In the heart of the Palace
Today, the Ducal Palace, located in the centre of Urbino, houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche and the Museo Archeologico Lapidario. It also hosts musical and artistic events of various kinds.
The structure consists of an older core, known as the flat of Jole, commissioned by Frederick's father, Count Guidantonio. This was the starting point for the expansion and decoration of what had originally been the simple residence of the Montefeltro family.
A tour of the halls
Inside the Ducal Palace, there is the extraordinary National Gallery: covering the first and second floors and a picture gallery of the highest level, with works by Piero della Francesca (the Flagellation and the Madonna of Senigallia) and Raphael (Portrait of a Gentlewoman known as La Muta and the Saint Catherine of Alexandria). The historical period of the works ranges from the 15th to the 18th century. In addition to paintings and sculptures, there is an important collection of ceramics, coins, drawings and furniture. On the ground floor is the Archaeological Museum.
An ancient dwelling with modern features
It can also be very interesting to visit the dungeons, kitchens and services of the palace, which at the time was astonishingly modern. Also impressive are the inlaid private study, the library of illuminated manuscripts and the small chapel of Forgiveness, attributed to Bramante, not forgetting the flats and the Salone delle Feste and the Cortile d'Onore. An architectural project in grand style, attracting visitors from all over the world. It is flanked by Urbino Cathedral and the Sanzio Theatre. The whole town is worth a visit.