This comes post-haste, as I’m attempting to beat the clock before it strikes December 1st! The month has flown by, as I wrote Advent stories, covering four weeks – one story a week – and activities for my grandchildren. Considering the stories have to be written in both English and Dutch, its more like writing four stories, when I add the Christmas stories I just finished. Nevertheless, I had much fun writing them and look forward to more.
Here we are then, wandering one more time – at least this year – through a beautiful Italian city before looking at some other aspects of Germany.
The roads meandered through valleys and breath-taking coastal roads skirting the Adriatic and then going inland. The Adriatic was brilliant-blue, resplendent in the sun and I couldn’t get enough of the sights. Finally after winding my way through the interior, I came face to face with the walled city of Urbino in the Marche.
To be sure, this is a very superficial birds eye-view as I only had the time to visit the Palazzo Ducale, which alone took the better part of the morning. I would like to return to Urbino to do it justice, by taking in all the historical and artistic sites, which easily require three to four days.
Historically, Urbino is firmly rooted in the Roman Empire as Urbinum Mataurense, although it antedates to the IV Century before Christ but information and archeological finds are sketchy.
In the Medieval period Urbino expanded and many convents and churches became part of the city’s heartbeat.
Taken from urbinoonline.net
Named the Pearl of the Renaissance, Urbino was rich with historical, cultural and religious life.
During the Renaissance it was a place of learning, arts and medicine. Urbino was the birthplace to the likes of artist Rafael, the Divine; Comandino Federico, a famous mathematician; the architectural genius Donato Bramante, to name but a few.
Today Urbino it is still a vibrant city, and a magnet for artists, scholars, educators and students from Italy and abroad.
Climbing the steps of this ancient city one is transported back in time. It’s enough to let the imagination take its course. Urbino was a “center of mathematics and abstract art of the Renaissance”. It also boasted a Medical Council, founded by Duke Guidolbaldo the son of Duke Ferdinand di Montefeltro (of Germanic origin).
Walking through the Palazzo Ducale, built in the 15th. Century, one sees Ferdinand di Montefeltro’s influence everywhere. Unfortunately, not being allowed to take pictures, I cannot show some of the grand rooms with paintings and wall-coverings that demonstrate the influence of this Duke. Paintings by Rafael are prominent throughout the Palace. Personally, the most striking room, is the small study, Studiolo, that is an artistic gem of woodwork, vignettes – represented symbolically by instruments or tools of the trade, and so on. Portions of it have been reproduced; the whole giving an insight into the person who inhabited this special room.
Although I don’t have pictures, this link will give you a much better understanding of the jaw-dropping scenes that enthralled me: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Studiolo_di_Federico_da_Montefeltro
Pictures below will show you the Piazza Federico with the Cathedral and further down the Church of Saint Damien.
Should you plan to travel the Adriatic coast, you will not regret taking a side trip to Urbino.
In the upcoming posts you can expect perspectives on unemployment and poverty in Germany – yes, not everything is rosy – as well as my rantings on the steadily rising cost of living in Canada.
In late December I’ll be spending Christmas with my family in Belgium and New Year with my family in the Netherlands. Should I be unable to post for December, I wish you all a very blessed, joyous and restful Christmas season and a happy 2014!