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Art & Culture


The Duke's Festival in Urbino offers the perfect opportunity to take in the essence of Le Marche

08 August 2022

4 minutes

Looking for the best way to immerse yourself in the most authentic atmosphere of Le Marche? Look no further than the traditional Duke’s Festival in Urbino, held in August (10 to 14 August this year), which attracts visitors and enthusiasts every year with a brand-new theme.

Urbino actually dedicates more than one event to the Duke! All dates for the diary.
What are the dates of the Duke's Festival in Urbino? His birthday is celebrated on 7 June, while in December the city hosts the two-day Winter Festival. Keep an eye on the event website.

The Duke's Festival in Urbino

Urbino party

This festival has been held in Urbino since 1982, the fifth centenary of the death of Duke Federico. Every year since, hundreds of people have gathered to re-enact the history of the Duchy during the Renaissance, choosing a specific historical event each year.

Over the four-day event, which culminates on the third Sunday in August, you can enjoy the opening parade, a court jester show, performances by flag-wavers and musicians, and 15th-century court dances. You can also find a historical market, themed dinners in taverns, medieval storytelling recitals and stargazing.

What’s on the programme? The town bursts into life with archery and sling shooting workshops, a drumming competition, the Joust of the Eagles, the armed contest between the Malatesta and Montefeltro, and guided tours. The festival culminates on Sunday with the “Giuoco della Aita”, a military game invented by the Duke himself. The festival ends with a historical parade and fireworks – Renaissance ones, of course.

Discovering Urbino during the Duke's Festival

discover urbino festa

We recommend starting at the Ducal Palace, home to a splendid collection of Renaissance paintings. Don't miss the house museum of the famous painter Raphael, the Neoclassical cathedral, the frescoes in the Oratory of St John the Baptist and the sculpture of the Nativity in the Oratory of St Joseph. Also worth visiting is the Sanzio Theatre on the bastion of the Helical Ramp and the Mausoleum of the Dukes just outside the walls.

After a visit to this UNESCO heritage city, why not take the opportunity to discover the other wonders of the region?

Beyond Urbino

A stroll through Jesi, the town of Frederick II
two steps from jesi

Participating in the Duke’s Festival is the perfect opportunity to take in the essence of Le Marche by exploring its most renowned towns - like Jesi, the birthplace of Frederick II. Its splendid city walls hold treasures to be discovered, including the Cathedral of San Settimio, built on the site of the ancient Roman forum, the museum dedicated to Frederick II “Stupor Mundi”, and the Signoria Palace. Don't miss the Teatro Pergolesi opera house, named after the famous composer, another child of this city, and Palazzo Pianetti, with its Italian-style garden.

The Holy House of Loreto

the holy house of loreto

This important Catholic pilgrimage site is home to the House of Nazareth, where, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary was born. It is surrounded by a basilica that looks like a fortress. Loreto’s other gems include the Baroque Fontana Maggiore fountain in the centre of the square and the impressive walls surrounding the city.

The travertine town of Ascoli Piceno

travertine ascoli piceno

The historic centre of Ascoli Piceno, among the most beautiful in Italy with its soaring noble and bell towers, is built entirely of travertine. It is no coincidence that it is called the City of 100 Towers. Check out the 13th-century Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo, the Art Nouveau-style Caffè Meletti, the 16th-century Loggia dei Mercanti, and Piazza Arringo, the oldest square in Ascoli with the most beautiful buildings.

An evening at the theatre in Macerata

one evening macerata theater

The first thing to do as soon as you arrive in Macerata is book a ticket for a performance at the Sferisterio, which hosts the opera season in summer. Other iconic monuments include the 18th-century Palazzo Buonaccorsi, the Palazzo Comunale, the Loggia dei Mercanti, the Palazzo della Prefettura and the Torre Civica with an astronomical clock with automatons and chimes.

Dive into Fermo

a dip in Fermo

Feeling the pull of the sea? Then you should definitely stop by Fermo, built by the Romans on the summit of Colle Sàbulo but with a beautiful coastline for a break from cultural visits. After freshening up, treat yourself to a stroll through the centre to discover the Renaissance Piazza del Popolo, the 16th-century Palazzo dei Priori, the Palazzo degli Studi, the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral and the Roman cisterns from the Augustan period.

The city of Giacomo Leopardi: Recanati

the city of giacomo leopardi

You cannot say you have truly experienced Le Marche without paying homage to one of its most illustrious figures: the poet Giacomo Leopardi, who was born in Recanati. The view from here is so magnificent that it is known as the “balcony city”. Take a stroll around the square overlooked by the 18th-century Palazzo Leopardi with its refined library, and climb up to the Colle dell'Infinito, which inspired Leopardi’s famous poem.

All you need to know about the Duke’s Festival in Urbino


Summer Festival: 10-14 August 2022

Duke's Birthday: 7 June 2022

Winter Festival: 2 days in December 2022

Sponsors and Partners:

Municipality of Urbino, Le Marche Region, Ministry of Culture, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche

More information

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