Urbino and surroundings: discover the Duchy of Montefeltro
pesaro urbino cosa vedere

Discover the surroundings of Urbino Italy, the cultural and historical jewel of Le Marche. Here is a guide to find out what to see in and around Urbino, among the wonders of this territory.

 

On the border with Emilia Romagna, Umbria, Tuscany and the Republic of San Marino, we find a territory rich in history, art, nature and gastronomy. Also known as “Montefeltro”, by virtue of Count Federico da Montefeltro, it is an excellent tourist destination for those who want journey of exploration, tradition and, at the same time, relaxation.

Exploring Urbino and the surrounding area you can discover a wide range of interesting itineraries. The presence of a heterogeneous territory rich in woods, rivers, valleys and mountains offers nature lovers the possibility of making excursions in contact with nature, around Monte Carpegna and in the Sasso di Simone Natural Park.

The area is also interesting for art and painting lovers, thanks to its flourishing development during the Renaissance period. Artists such as Piero Della Francesca, Giotto and Raphael have left many works and paintings that enrich the cultural heritage of the area. In addition to Urbino, there are a number of fantastic monuments and museums to visit in the many medieval villages scattered throughout the territory.

This is just a small part of what awaits you in the surroundings of Urbino, a wonderful land just waiting to be visited.

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Trip to Urbino and surroundings: the most interesting destinations

What to see in the surroundings of Urbino for a day trip or a longer one? Starting from Urbino and following Metauro river towards the coast, here are some of the places not to be missed!

 

1. Urbino

The cultural capital of Montefeltro, Urbino is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its Renaissance architecture throughout the historic centre.

In fact, all the most interesting tourist attractions are concentrated here (forget about using public transport, everything is by foot). The view of the Duomo is majestic, characterised by a neoclassical façade on the outside and a rich interior with paintings by maestro Federico Barocci, such as the Last Supper.

 

ducal palace urbino

 

Next door is the Ducal Palace, symbol of the greatness of the Duchy of Urbino, which houses the National Gallery of the Marche. The city is the birthplace of Raphael, whose house is open to visitors. In addition to countless museums, Renaissance squares and oratories, there are large green spaces such as the Albornoz Fortress. It is the most panoramic point and you can relax lying on the lawn.

When travelling, the stomach begins to rumble and Urbino knows how to satisfy everyone’s taste bud. The most popular street food is undoubtedly the crescia, a kind of piadina with added egg, stuffed with Casciotta di Urbino PDO and Prosciutto di Carpegna.

 

2. Fermignano

Descending towards the coast, Fermignano is the first town you come across near Urbino. A place mentioned in history as having been the site of one of the fiercest battles during the Rome-Carthage feud. There are many military constructions such as the Torre delle Milizie (Militia Tower), a symbol of the city. It stands next to the medieval bridge and was used as a checkpoint on the Metauro river.

 

fermignano
Fermignano – flickr, Antonio Morri

3. Urbania

Not far from Fermignano, the town is famous for being the summer residence of Federico da Montefeltro. To relax outside the walls of Urbino, the duke spent his holidays in the “Barco Ducale”, a hunting lodge immersed in the countryside. Inside you can find a convent in Vanvitellian style.

 

urbania
Urbania – flickr, Eugenio Caregnato

 

The presence of the Montefeltro family in this city has been very marked, so much so that its historic centre is known as a “little Urbino”. Here, in fact, we can find the Ducal Palace, residence of the last duke of Montefeltro Francesco Maria II della Rovere.

Among the many churches, one stands out for its particularity: the “Church of the Dead”. Inside we find the mummified remains of people who lived between 1500 and 1800. For those who love the macabre, this is the ideal destination!

 

4. Furlo Gorge and Marmitte dei Giganti

This is the right place for all those wondering: what to see in Urbino and its surroundings if I love nature? Located near Fossombrone, these are natural gorges crossed by the Metauro River. Given the distance from the sea, it is the right place to cool off with a swim (and for the more daring, even a dive) in its crystal clear waters.

Near these gorges you can relax, still surrounded by greenery, in the Furlo Gorge Nature Reserve. It is characterised by an amazing landscape: the mountains around the river form a canyon that can be admired by walking along the appropriate footpaths.

 

urbino italy
Furlo Gorge Nature Reserve – flickr, Guido Andolfato

5. Frontino

Recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy by the Italian Touring Club through the awarding of the “orange flag”, entering Frontino opens up a medieval fairytale world. Given its rather special location. The municipality stands on a rocky spur overlooking a valley crossed by the Mutino river.

The town is characterised by the presence of a castle, surrounded by numerous towers such as the Torre Civica, which rises solemnly above the valley. Accompanied by the silence of the surrounding mountains, the village exudes a mystical, sometimes even romantic atmosphere.

 

6. Gradara

Love, intrigue and battles have found a home in this small medieval village. Its stronghold was the site of numerous stories such as the love story between Paolo and Francesca (also mentioned by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy), wars between the Papal State and the Montefeltro Houses, court intrigues between the most powerful families of the time such as the Sforza and Della Rovere families.

Immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere of Gradara with a walk through the walls or a visit to the small shops in the historic centre until you reach the drawbridge that will open the doors to the castle.

 

gradara
Gradara

 

7. Monte San Bartolo Park

Backpack on your shoulders, boots and walking stick: everyone is ready to visit this fantastic park! Unique in its kind, it takes its name from San Bartolo hill, which is characterised by two distinct environments: the marine and the rural one. The first overlooks the sea through a succession of pebbly coastlines and high, sheer cliffs.

 

pesaro urbino
Monte San Bartolo Park – flickr, Pietro Torre

 

On the other hand, the rural area is characterised by a large green scrub consisting of woods and cultivated fields where here and there we can find abandoned farmhouses. Not only nature, in this park we can also talk about art and culture, given the presence of the remains of the disappeared city of Valbruna, called “the Atlantis of the Adriatic sea”, and of some historical residences such as the Caprile or the Imperiale villas.

 

8. Pesaro

It is the maritime link with the surroundings of Urbino. The city is remembered for its ecological footprint, as it can all be visited by bicycle thanks to the “Bicipolitana”, a series of cycle paths linking the whole city.

On the saddle of our bikes, we set off to discover Pesaro seafront, where we can admire the tomato “ball”, a spherical sculpture by the sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro. We then reach Piazzale della Libertà, where we find one of the symbols of Art Nouveau culture: the Villino Ruggeri.

 

pesaro
Pesaro – flickr, Ester Milanese

 

Taking Via Rossini, you finally arrive in the historic centre. Here you can visit the San Giovanni Library, archaeological sites such as the early Christian mosaics in the Cathedral and the beautiful Piazza del Popolo with its Ducal Palace.

What to see in Pesaro Urbino? Pesaro is not only culture, but also leisure and relaxation! After a long day, what could be better than a walk at night by the sea or a bit of “night life” in one of the clubs along the coast?

 

Excursions, adventures and tastings: the entertainment of Montefeltro

In addition to visiting its most evocative places, Montefeltro offers travellers many activities to enjoy. The large expanse of green in the area gives everyone, from families to sport lovers, the opportunity to experience unique emotions.

At the Marmitte dei giganti it is possible to make canoe excursions by contacting specialised tour operators. Accompanied by an expert guide, the trip covers most of Metauro river course, starting from the Forra di San Lazzaro and ending at the Marmitte. To make the experience even more captivating, the canyon gorges widen and narrow, changing from moments when you row to others where you advance only with the help of your hands.

 

marmitte dei giganti
Marmitte dei Giganti – flickr, SimoneBG1907

 

What to see around Urbino if you love trekking and nature? The many natural parks in the area offer different types of excursions, both for experts and for families. There are many itineraries in the Sasso Simone and Simoncello Park, which is famous for its limestone monoliths and uncontaminated woods.

Finally, for those who wish to accompany their discovery with a good glass of wine, Terracruda wineries offer the possibility of visiting their vineyards and wine cellars. Here you will discover the origin and wine-making techniques of “Bianchello del Metauro” wine, the flagship of Montefeltro wine production.

 

Not only art and culture, even the palate wants its share

Montefeltro is also famous for its food and wine, based on traditional local foods. In addition to the crescia already mentioned, there is a wide variety of cured meats, cheeses and preserves ready to be enjoyed in some local trattorias during an aperitif.

For truffle lovers, in the town of Acqualagna we can find the prized white truffle. It is one of the most prestigious in the world, so much so that it is also known abroad. Every year, from October to November, the truffle fair is held here and you can taste this excellent food.

Montefeltro offers a wide range of wines. From the already mentioned Bianchello del Metauro to red wines with a strong taste such as Valturio and Sangiovese. Honourable mention also goes to the “vino di visciole”, a liqueur wine made from sour cherries (a variety of cherry that is more bitter than the normal one) to pair with different types of dessert.

 

Events not to be missed near Urbino Italy

Given the high number of festivals, historical re-enactments and organised events, the area offers many opportunities for entertainment of various kinds. Let’s find out together which of the following ones stimulate your curiosity the most!

What to see in Urbino and the surrounding area if you are a fan of historical re-enactments? The most important is the one “celebrated” in Urbino in honour of Duke Federico da Montefeltro. The entire historic centre is transformed into a mediaeval centre with costumes from the period, comedians and battle scenes.

 

truffles acqualagna
Flickr, Marcheholiday Le Marche Images

 

In addition to the already mentioned Acqualagna truffle festival, several other festivals are held in this area to celebrate typical local specialities. I can mention the “Festa del Prosciutto Di Carpegna PDO” or the “Sagra del Formaggio di Fossa” in Talamello. You will discover all the secrets of these food and wine gems directly from their producers. There will be tastings and visits to the production facilities.

A special mention goes to the “Festa degli Aquiloni” in Urbino, a kite competition between the whole town divided into districts.

 

Getting to Montefeltro has never been easier!

The Urbino-Pesaro axis makes it possible to reach the territory by any means of transport. The Pesaro railway connection, inherent in a shuttle bus service, makes it possible to reach the surroundings of Urbino even without using a car.

 

urbino provincia

 

The use of aeroplanes, thanks to the airports of Rimini or Ancona Falconara, makes it possible for both foreign and domestic tourists to reach the territory quickly and easily. However, the best way is by car, using the A14 motorway network with its exit at Pesaro/Fano and the motorway network to reach the hinterland.

Now that you know all the most fascinating destinations in and around Urbino, immerse yourself in this magical land and explore every single part of it! You can create your own tailor-made holidays with the local Expert thanks to Italia Delight, so don’t waste time and book a trip with us! 🧳

 

About Author

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Davide Summo
Ciao, mi chiamo Davide, un marchigiano purosangue neolaureato in Scienza dell'alimentazione presso l'Università degli studi di Firenze. Nessun amore è più sincero dell'amore per il cibo e il mio è smisurato e dalle mille sfaccettature, per cui voglio raccontarvelo attraverso un viaggio fatto di cultura, tradizioni e sapori.

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