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Counting World Heritage sites: #66 (Urbino)

Historic center of Urbino is recognized on UNESCO list for its homogeneous Renaissance appearance and architecture blended into original medieval structure. It is a town that is very easy on the eyes – and moderately challenging to navigate due to its hilly topography.

Here is the view of the town center from the elevated viewpoint near Fortezza Albornoz.

View of Urbino from Albornoz Castle park, Italy

The World Heritage inscription names only a few specific buildings, the major of which, the Ducal Palace, did not look overly photogenic during our visit. One of the other major structures, the cathedral, compensated for that.

Urbino Cathedral, Italy

We toured the palace, stepped into the Duomo, looked at a few churches mentioned in the inscription from the outside, and also walked by the house that is the birthplace of Raphael. In addition to that, the core of Urbino marks a few dozen locations (with signs on every street corner), stretching the UNESCO designation to cover everything that could be considered of interest in town.

All main roads in Urbino center converge on the relatively compact Piazza della Reppublica.

Piazza della Reppublica, Urbino, Italy

Becky, who was studying in Urbino this summer, will disagree with me, but to me, the town lacks the “wow factor”. It is undoubtedly worthy of its World Heritage designation and it is a living city that is not overrun by tourists. But it is hard to point out a must-see attraction – Urbino’s charm is in the summary total of its parts.

Then again, a shot like the one below always helps me retain nothing by good impressions of the place.

Urbino, Italy

Not being situated on major travelling routes, Urbino is unlikely to be a stop-over destination. Nonetheless, you can get a good sense of the town and even visit some of its points of interest in the space of a few hours.

These and other pictures of Urbino can be found in my Flickr photostream.