Urbino is a pleasant town with a number of attractions to offer. Its central part is hilly – walking up and down the streets could be a challenge for some.
The town lacks the wow factor, IMHO. It has a couple of nice piazzas, it is a living university town, there are plenty of good-looking medieval buildings, but not anything that stands out. Nonetheless, it is very much worth a visit.
Duomo ♥ is fairly traditional and not very lavishly decorated on the inside, although quite impressive on the outside. The adjoining Ducal Palace does not look exceptional on the outside. If you decide to go inside, you can see a couple of dozen nice rooms, with practically no furniture and very few decorations. They house Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, but the paintings on display are sparse and mostly of the sacred kind. The highlights are the wooden alcove and a well-preserved Studiolo, the personal study/chapel of a duke. On a rainy day, visiting the palace is a worthwhile diversion.
The church facing the palace, San Domenico, looks interesting on the outside but shows nothing special inside. Instead, there was a crafts market in there when we visited. There are a couple of other churches in the town center that are worth a quick look.
Botanical Garden ♥ is small and quaint, in a traditional way seemingly wild and unkempt, but actually organized, with many plants marked and a few extended notes provided on exhibited species.
Parco della Resistenza ♥ inside Fortezza dell’Albornoz walls provides the best views over town and surrounding countryside. The castle itself holds some sort of a museum, which was closed when we walked by.
The monument to Rafael, who was born in Urbino, sits in a pleasant little park with a playground on the top of the hill at the edge of town center. There is also a birth house of Rafael, on the eponymous street leading from the monument to the central piazza, which we did not visit.
Places to Eat
All places last visited in summer of 2014.
Il Girarrosto ♥ is located at a small piazzeta near Piazza Reppublica. Nice setting, good service, not a very extensive menu, but everything was excellent. We tried the rabbit, the mixed grill, and the sausage called salccionetta. Our first choice of dessert was not available, but an english cake made up for it. Our damage: €87 for three with a bottle of wine.
Osteria L’Angolo Divino ♥♥ is one one of the side streets in the town center. The weather was not conducive to outside seating, so we sat down in a well-appointed basement-level room. Good service, although the waitress had to navigate stairs to get to and from us all the time. Our choices for appetizer were very nice duck liver, and carpaccio that was a tad bit too oily. Main courses of lombatino di agnello and manzo ai funghi porchini were excellent. No less excellent hot chocolate cake for dessert. Our damage: €102 for three with a bottle of wine (slightly more expensive than usual).
We had a couple of aperitivo while in Urbino, one in Caffe del Sole ♥, another at Caffe Vineria Rafaello ♥. Both offer superb snacks with the wine. The latter supplemented the snacks with a small pasta salad. We also checked out the night club Bosom, where snacks and drinks were also excellent.
Our breakfasts were all taken in Caffe dell’Accademia ♥, at the top of the hill near Rafael Monument. The interior marries rustic with unassuming, choice of sandwiches and pastries is reasonable, good place for a quick bite. We also had a small lunch there, and observed it being a venue for some night event for the locals.
We went to Fano specifically to take a dip in the Adriatic Sea. Driving through town left a reasonable positive impression, but we did not take time to explore outside of the beach. The beach is wide and long, with paid lounge-chair sections along its entire length. The ground is pebbled, and changes to sand a couple of steps into the water.