Nestled in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains in the northeastern part of Central Italy, Urbino is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a breathtaking, perfectly preserved historic center and fascinating history.
During the Renaissance Urbino blossomed under the enlightened rule of Duke Federico da Montefeltro, a skillful statesman and enthusiastic patron of art and literature. Many leading historical figures lent their luster to the Montefeltro court, including the painter Piero della Francesca.
Urbino is also the birthplace of Raphael, one of the most important painters of the Italian Renaissance.
Today Urbino provides the ideal setting for a University. The old historic center houses most of the University’s faculties forming a student-friendly campus where everything is still within easy walking distance, and locals, students and professors mix casually in the squares, narrow streets and cafés.
The city of Urbino et amid green hills, in a landscape moulded for centuries by the hand of man, the ancient city of Urbino stands on a headland between the river valleys of the Metauro and Foglia, encircled by defensive walls. Its original appearance, suggestive of the bows of a ship, was given it by the Romans who founded the municipality of Urvinum Mataurense , from which the name Urbino may have derived. Urbino retained its prow-like shape throughout the Middle Ages, until the Montefeltro dukes transformed it into one of the most beautiful cities of the Italian Renaissance.
The great soldier-statesman and man of letters, Duke Federico da Montefeltro, commissioned the architects Luciano Laurana and Francesco di Giorgio Martini to build his palace which rapidly became a focal point for the finest spirits of the Age of Humanism. This palace, or “city in the form of a palace”, which blends so beautifully with the surrounding countryside, was to serve as a model for numerous other Renaissance courts. Among the leading figures who lent their lustre to the Montefeltro court were painters like Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, Melozzo da Forlì, Justus of Ghent and Pedro Berruguete, writers like Baldassare Castiglione and Pietro Bembo, architects like Leon Battista Alberti, philosophers, mathematicians like Luca Pacioli and Paulus von Middelburg, and the poets Bernardo and Torquato Tasso.
Urbino has been the birthplace of a number of other important figures in Italian culture including the architect Girolamo Genga, the painters Raphael and Federico Barocci, the architect and mathematician Muzio Oddi, and in this century, the writer Paolo Volponi, who was intimately involved with Urbino until his death in 1994. It was to the memory of Federico’s son, Duke Guidobaldo, who successfully kept up the cultural splendour of the Urbino court - albeit with increasingly frequent contributions from the papacy - that Baldassare Castiglione dedicated his famous book, “The Courtier”. Castiglione had been a guest at the court of Urbino and held important positions there from 1504 onwards, and his book was intended to describe the model courtier, the ideal Renaissance gentleman, whom he had seen so memorably embodiedMontefeltro court. In 1506, just two years before he died, Duke Guifounded the Collegio dei Dottori on which the modern University is based.
Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo Via Aurelio Saffi, 2 • 61029 Urbino PU
Centralino +39 0722 3051 - Numero verde 800 462446
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