Historic Center of Urbino (1998)

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The small hill town of Urbino, in the Marche, experienced a great cultural flowering in the 15th century, attracting artists and scholars from all over Italy and beyond, and influencing cultural developments elsewhere in Europe. Owing to its economic and cultural stagnation from the 16th century onwards, it has preserved its Renaissance appearance to a remarkable extent. 

Urbino (ancient Urbinum Hortense) is a town in central Italy, in Marche Region. Urbino is a tourist and agricultural center, famous for the majolica ware made during the Renaissance. 

Italy 1999. Art Institute of Urbino.

Among the chief points of interest are a 15th-century ducal palace (now a well-known museum of Italian painting) and a university founded in 1506. 

Urbino came under Roman rule in the 3rd century bc. From 1474 to 1626 it was the capital of the duchy of Urbino and a renowned art center. Urbino was part of the Papal States from 1626 to 1860, when it was incorporated into the kingdom of Italy. 

  • Italy 1999. Art Institute of Urbino. 

Federico da Montefeltro was born in 1422 to a small-time noble family that ruled over an insignificant square of the chess-board that was then central Italy. Yet within sixty years he had become "the light of Italy" and the paradigm of Renaissance man, as skilled in letters as in arms. As in all portraits of the Duke, including Piero della Francesca's famous painting in the Uffizi, we only see his left profile; a swordblow earlier in his life had cost him his right eye and the bridge of his nose. 

Italy 1982. Federico da Montefeltro in front of a panoramic view of Urbino. Quaiti State in Hadhramaut 1967. Piero della Francesca: "Federico da Montefeltro".

One of Italy's greatest painters ever, Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) was a native of Urbino. Raphael was born in Urbino on March 28 or April 6, 1483.

San Marino 1963. Raphael. Self-Portrait.

The Vatican 1944. Raphael. Self-Portrait.

His father, the artist Giovanni di Santi, worked mainly for Francesco Gonzaga in Mantua, and Raphael spent his youth in a courtly environment. In 1500Raphael was apprenticed to Perugino, a highly respected artist who was one of the first in Italy to paint extensively in oil. He employed pure strong colours for his figures, which were imbued with a particularly sweet air of piety, often setting them in landscapes infused with pale, shimmering light. 
  • San Marino 1963.  Raphael Self Portrait, assumed painted c. 1500, when Raphael was 17 years old. 
  • Vatican City 1944.  Idem.  

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Italy (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Italy for further information about such sites. 

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Revised 01 aug 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus 
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