Perched high up on one of Le Marche’s hills, Urbino is a city that delights both history buffs and foodies. Its architecture, art, and history rival any of Tuscany’s famous masterpieces and Urbino has the street cred to back this statement. Making the New York Times list of 52 places to visit and garnering the World UNESCO heritage stamp, Urbino, Italy is worthy of anyone’s bucket-list.
Urbino’s Quick Backstory
Urbino’s claim to fame came during the 15th century. Attracting the most outstanding artists and scholars from all over Italy, and beyond. During this period Urbino became an epicentre of culture. Of course it helped that Urbino was the birthplace of Raphael di Sanzio, one of Italy’s most prolific Renaissance artists. Add in monetary funds from the Duke of Montefeltro and a cultural Renaissance was born creating the urban complex of Urbino’s centro storico which you can visit today.
How to get to Urbino, Italy
Urbino is located in the interior of Le Marche. Most of Le Marche’s interior is not accessible by train. If you’re traveling by train you’ll want to arrive in Ancona first. Then from Ancona you can take the train to Pesaro or Fano. After arriving in Pesaro or Fano you can reach Urbino by bus.
If you’re comfortable navigating winding countryside roads and enthusiastic Italian drivers renting a car is an option. Be forewarned that the historic centre and the main sites worth visiting in Urbino are located within the zona a traffico limitato (ZTL). ZTL areas are not accessible by car without a local permit. You’ll have to find parking outside the city walls and make your way up by foot unless you’re ready for a hefty fine.
Want to explore Le Marche’s hill tops towns and beautiful medieval villages? Forget the headache of finding parking, renting a car and complicated logistics. Instead sit back and relax knowing we’ve taken care of it when you book your Italy trip with us.
Italian dishes you must try during your visit to Urbino, Italy
Close to Emilia Romagna, and located in the heart of truffle country, Urbino is the perfect destination for food lovers. From Urbino you can visit one of the only two government recognized Truffle regions in Italy. At the centre of Le Marche’s truffle country is Aqualagna which is an easy day trip from Urbino. Aqualagna is home of one of the largest truffle festivals in Italy that happens every Fall.
If you’re visiting anytime between November and February, trying a tasting menu of fresh white truffle should be on the top of your list! White truffle is only produced during the winter months. So beware of any menus offering it outside of the season.
Vegetarians and cheese lovers will enjoy Caciotta cheese. It is a soft fresh cheese made with goat’s milk and a small amount of cow’s milk. The local way to enjoy caciotta is melted inside a crescia sfogliata. Crescia sfogliata is a speciality flat bread from Urbino which dates back to the Renaissance times. Made with flour, pepper and eggs it draws many similarities to the piadina from Emilia Romagna.
Not a fan of fresh cheese but prefer something with a few more years on it? When you visit Urbino, Italy you can taste the famous Pecorino di Fossa. Pecorino di Fossa is produced using sheep’s milk. It is aged in caves using the same methods from over a hundred years ago. It’s rich and robust flavor also makes it a perfect pairing with the local honey that is produced in the neighboring apennine mountain range.
Meat lovers will delight with a visit to Urbino, Italy. Urbino is very close to Carpegna which is in the northernmost part of the province. Carpegna is home to one of the best, and least known outside of Italy, prosciutto. Prosciutto di Carpegna is delicate and buttery in flavor. It is only made in this area near Urbino. Therefore it is difficult to find beyond the borders of Pesaro-Urbino as it is not widely sold outside of the province.
When it comes to wines you must try Bianchello del Metauro. Bianchello del Metauro is a DOC wine that pairs well with the traditional dishes found in Urbino. It is not only fresh to the palate but not too sweet making it a perfect match for the Casciotta. To get a complete taste of Urbino’s cuisine be sure to add a few slices of Prosciutto di Carpegna to your charcuterie board.
One of the oldest dishes in Urbino is the Coniglio in Porchetta. This is a mini version of Porchetta. But instead of using pork it is made with rabbit meat. The spices and herbs are like the original. Never eaten rabbit before and don’t like wild game? Do not worry! Coniglio in Porchetta is delicious and does not leave a gamey aftertaste like deer or pheasant.
Where to stay and What to see in Urbino, Italy
Staying in the historic center of Urbino is a convenient choice if you’re traveling by bus. You’ll have access to all of Urbino’s main historic sites and restaurants without the use of a vehicle. From Urbino’s centro storico (historic centre) these are the must-see sites:
- Palazzo Ducale: One of Italy’s finest Renaissance Palaces, Palazzo Ducale (the Ducale Palace) was inscripted as part of the world UNESCO heritage site of Urbino’s historic center in 1998. You can find the opening times online.
- Oratorio di San Giovanni Battista: A little jewel in Urbino, the paintings inside the oratory are an excellent example of international gothic art’s influence in Le Marche. Painted by two brothers, Lorenzo and Jacopo Salimbeni, the frescoes date back to 1416.
- Casa Natale di Raffaello: The home where Raphael was born. It is a slice of Renaissance history and must visit on any trip to Urbino, Italy. Online you can find the visiting hours (the information is only offered in Italian)
- Parco della Resistenza: Although a bit of a climb up, Parco della Resistenza offers unbeatable views of the Urbino. This is the ideal place to capture your ultimate shot of Urbino,Italy. Even if you’re not a fan of photography the panorama is well worth the walk.
Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the pinnacle of Renaissance culture or enjoy a wine-soaked, culinary adventure through Le Marche’s hinterland, a trip to Urbino will help tick off all the boxes. Like much of Italy’s magnificent countryside you’ll find exploring by bus and train prohibitive. Car travel can be stressful and not worth the headache when you don’t know the roads or how to navigate Italy’s narrow streets and limited traffic areas. If researching a new territory, circumnavigating the language, and connecting with the locals seems like an impossible feat, then you’ve come to the right place. Enjoy sipping vino rosso by the vineyard, cooking with all-star chefs and experience Le Marche like a local by choosing your itinerary here. Leave the trip planning up to us! All you have to do is book your trip, sit back and relax, because we’ve got you covered.