National Gallery of the Marche
building in Urbino, Italy



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National Gallery of the Marche
building in Urbino, Italy
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Piazzale Duca Federico, 13

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Ok, Renaissance freaks, this is one of the holy sites you need to go to if you’re making the Quattrocento pilgrimage.

Since it’s set inside the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino, it’s a castle plus museum of sorts. The façade of the palace seems invincible because of its solid rock walls, but inside is a beautiful arcaded courtyard, complete with arches and columns galore that must’ve satisfied the Renaissance fetish for classical Greek and Roman aesthetics.

The Galleria Nazionale delle Marche includes a host of sculptures, frescoes, paintings and antique inscriptions. One of the coolest features of the palace/gallery is the studiolo, a small room with trompe l’oeil design features and furniture built into the walls. Some of the most integral Renaissance artworks are displayed in the gallery – Piero Della Francesca’s Flagellation and Titian’s Resurrection among them. Though you’d better be ready to dish out the hefty sum of €16 for the entry fee…

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Ducal Palace, Urbino

The Ducal Palace (Italian: Palazzo Ducale) is a Renaissance building in the Italian city of Urbino in the Marche. One of the most important monuments in Italy, it is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.


The construction of the Ducal Palace was begun for Duke Federico III da Montefeltro around the mid-fifteenth century by the Florentine Maso di Bartolomeo. The new construction included the pre-existing Palace of the Jole. The solid rock hillside salient was impregnable to siege but was problematic for carving out the foundation of a palace. Thus, a prominent fortress-builder, Luciano Laurana, from Dalmatia, was hired to build the substructure; but Laurana departed Urbino before the living quarters of the palace were begun. After Laurana, the designer or designers of the Ducal Palace are unknown with certainty. Leading High Renaissance architect Donato Bramante was a native of Urbino and may have worked on the completion of the palace.

The Ducal Palace is famous as the setting of the conversations which Baldassare Castiglione represents as having taken place in the Hall of Vigils in 1507 in his Book of the Courtier.

The palace continued in use as a government building into the 20th century, housing municipal archives and offices, and public collections of antique inscriptions and sculpture (the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, see below). Restorations completed in 1985 have reopened the extensive subterranean network to visitors.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Ducal Palace, Urbino.