Exploring churches, bridges and ceramics
Crossed by the Metauro river and surrounded by rolling hills, the Le Marche village of Urbania tells of a long history, with splendid buildings protected by walls, alleyways and bridges. At its heart is the 15th-century Ducal Palace built by the Duke of Urbino Federico II da Montefeltro. Today, it houses a fascinating museum complex.
Nearby is the Cathedral of St Christopher Martyr, built on the site of a prior 8th-century abbey. The 16th-century Church of St Catherine, in addition to its classical façade, houses a lavish interior. But the real gem of Urbania is the Church of the Dead, built in 1380. Inside, you can find a room containing 18 mummies. The Ponte del Riscatto bridge offers the most beautiful views of the city.
Urbania is also known for its decorated ceramics, a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages, when the town was called Casteldurante. It is also famous for the annual “Befana” festival, which sees people gather from around the world for Epiphany, as a Befana (witch) flies over the city from the 36-metre-high Bell Tower.
Outside the city are the Villa del Barco, built in 1465 as a hunting reserve for the dukes of Urbino, and the Bosco di Folletti park within the Monte Montiego wildlife oasis. You can sample local specialities, including white truffles, crostolo flatbread and bostrengo, a dessert made of rice and nuts.