Border beauty

Urbania, Sant'Angelo in Vado, Marcatello sul Metauro and Lamoli

A land to discover nestled between Tuscany and Umbria. With its small villages, the hinterland of the province of Pesaro e Urbino appears like a jewel treasured in the green heart of Italy. From a geographical point of view, the north-west area of the Marche is inextricably linked to Umbria, Tuscany and Emilia Romagna; these regions flow one into the other to create a beautiful and fertile region, rich in art, culture and history. An example is Urbania, a town rich in works of art that preserves much of its characteristic 15th century medieval core. Known since the 13th century by the name of Casteldurante, in the 16th century Urbania became famous throughout Europe both for its ceramics and for being the "place of delight" of the Montefeltro-Della Rovere dukes. Indeed, they were the ones to create a designed road to connect Urbania and Urbino, in order to reach the town by litter in just three hours.

Among the important monuments we can find Palazzo Ducale, a brick palace built by the Brancaleoni at the end of the 13th century, which later became the home of the last Duke of Urbino. Inside, there is the Library, the Museum of Agricultural History and the town art gallery. A very interesting part is the Church of the Dead, decorated with a splendid Gothic portal, inside of which is preserved the Mummies Cemetery, known for the peculiar phenomenon of natural mummification, due to a specific natural mold. Going north-west from the city, 1 km far from the city center and towards Sant'Angelo in Vado, there’s the Barco Ducale. Founded in 1465 at the behest of Federico da Montefeltro, the Barco was a hunting park that also offered the duke a moment of spiritual refreshment and physical recreation. The current architectural complex is an 18th century monastery in Vanvitellian style, where are now held the Civic Museum’s activities and workshops related to ceramic and artistic craft workshops. The pretty town of Sant'Angelo in Vado, famous for the beautiful mosaics of the Domus del Mito, is an area of truffles (a national exhibition is held every year between October and November) and holy wine production.

Country seat of the ancient province of Massa Trabaria, Sant'Angelo in Vado owns the archaeological area of Tifernum Metaurense which restored countless finds from the Roman imperial era, which are currently exhibited at the museum. The Old Crafts Museum, is located in the basement of Palazzo Mercuri, and reenacts the artisan workshops that were active for centuries in this town. Furthermore, the Museum preserves the documents related to other gone-by crafts, in order to underline the excellence and particularity of the craftsmanship of Sant'Angelo in Vado, such as: cabinet-making, wrought iron and goldsmithing. Among the main religious buildings, the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi stands out. Its importance is due to the presence of some works of art, such as: the paintings by Raffaellino del Colle and by Vadese Francesco Mancini. Mercatello sul Metauro, a town with small industries and artisan activities (furniture and bobbin lace making), is named after the local small fir trunk market that characterized the town since the medieval times. In the 13th century the town was equipped with a now-gone ring of walls, but the urban layout of Mercatello still preserves monuments of significant interest. An example is the Pieve Collegiata characterized by walls dating back to the primitive Romanesque construction and by lateral Gothic windows. The inside of the basilica has three naves and contains numerous works of art created by various artists, including Raffaellin del Colle and Francesco Guerrieri. The building overlooks Piazza Garibaldi along with the portico of the Town Hall and Palazzo Gasparini, surmounted by an aerial panoramic viewpoint. The nearby Church of Francesco with its primitive Gothic style, has a flat façade with the main portal enriched by bundles of lateral columns, interposed with small pillars and surmounted by a pointed arch. The altar houses the panel painting “Madonna with saints” (1345) attributed to Giovanni Baronzio, while in the sacristy is located the beautiful canvas by Claudio Ridolfi, depicting the “Baptism of Jesus”. The adjoining Convent of San Francesco, as it appears today, is the result of numerous transformations and significant defacings. The convent, built in the 13th century, was the home of the Capuchin monks until 1883, when it became the Urbania bishop’s domicile. Since 2007, the Church and Convent have become the headquarters of the homonymous museum. Lamoli, small inhabited town located less than 10 km from the fertile Tiber wide valley (in Umbrian territory), is overlooked by the Abbey of S. Michele Arcangelo. It’s part of a Benedictine abbey founded in the 7th-8th century, whose cloister houses the intriguing “Delio Bischi” Museum of Natural Colors. The Museum represents a journey through the history of natural colors through the human being, who used them since the ancient times and up until the early 1900s, when synthetic colors entered the market.

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