The Italian town of Urbania is situated in the north-west of the Marche region, south-west of Urbino. The town is best known for its attractive medieval centre and for the Palazzo Ducale, and is also a well known centre for the production of ceramics and the painted earthenware known as majolica.
The original medieval village of Urbania (when it was established it was called Casteldurante) was further developed during the renaissance as a place of summer residence for the Dukes of Urbino, and buildings from both of these periods can be seen during a visit.
Most visits will start in the main square in the centre of Urbania, which is an attractive piazza lined by arcaded buildings and where you will also find a reasonable selection of cafes and restaurants.
Tha Palazzo Ducale on the banks of the Metauro River is the best known monument in Urbania and dates originally from the 13th century although it was much modified in the 15th and 16th centuries. Inside the palace there is a small museum and art gallery. There is also a small library and exhibit of maps and a globe prepared by Mercator, an important 16th century cartographer.
Other noteworthy highlights in Urbania include the Church of the Dead - if you enjoy seeing 500 year old mummies! Close to the Palazzo Ducale the small church (Chiesa dei Morti) contains about 18 mummies now on display upright in glass case.
In the same part of Urbania there are other interesting medieval buildings along with part of the original defensive walls of Urbania. There is also a small cathedral, much modified in the 18th century, and a couple of other churches including the baroque style Church of San Francesco - step inside the church to see some notable paintings.
There are also a good selection of bars and restaurants in Urbania, and a focus on the ceramic industry in the town with shops and workshops where you can buy the pottery or learn more about its production.
Urbania doesn't take very long to explore, and is a little off the 'tourist trail' but its attractive setting and well preserved historical centre mean a visit is recommended when you visit this central part of Italy.
On the edge of Urbania there is an imposing 15th century building (rebuilt in the late 18th century) called the Barco Ducale that combines various architectural styles and is interesting to see.
Selected places to visit near Urbania, Italy
See the Marche guide for more travel ideas...