Showing posts with label Marche. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marche. Show all posts

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Streets of Urbino


Thursday 21 June 2012

Two days in Urbino, Italy

After leaving Gubbio (you can read about our short visit in the previous post) quite a bit earlier that we would have liked, we soon entered the region of Marche and at the same time left Umbria behind.
By this time we were already heading back northeast - in the direction of Slovenia.

We were hoping for a bit of sunshine but the ride from Gubbio to Urbino was obviously not long enough for a change of weather. Not minding the weather too much, we parked our car relatively close to the city gate at the north-eastern part of the town walls.

The thing with these old fortified towns is that you can not always choose your point of entrance. Thick stone walls usually do not have all that many entrances. This is an obvious consequence of a defensive strategy that was vital in medieval times when most of these fortifications were built.

The obvious lack of space inside the old town is not the most convenient thing for a modern tourist, who would love to drive at least to the apartment door. Here we all had to park outside the walls and walk the narrow cobbled streets in rain. In my opinion this is a small price to pay for keeping the old charm alive.

After a slow, rainy stroll around the town we decided not to move on until the next day - that is if we found a suitable accommodation for the night. We were aiming towards some budget options and surprisingly a nice lady at the information office in the old town center provided a couple of options. Since we learned we could find accommodation for 60 Euros (that's for both of us), we decided to stay in Urbino. We opted for Albergo Ristorante San Giovanni. It is a small two star hotel where we got a nice double room with a bathroom for the mentioned price. It was nothing special but definitely clean, cosy and affordable. They also offer cheaper rooms but I guess those don't come with a private bathroom.

Spending the night in Urbino meant we could really relax that evening and even have a walk through the streets the following morning. We treated ourselves with a nice dinner. It was a bit on the expensive side but very tasty.

We also bought some local bread (it is called Focaccia Umbra) and goat cheese. This made for a perfect travel snack the next day. We also tasted a few different local cured meats. Simple but delicious!

Among the things worth visiting when in Urbino are definitely the Palace of the Dukes of Montefeltro (Palazzo Ducale) and the town's Duomo. They can be found next to each other in the main square. A walk to the top of the hill to Fortezza Albornoz is also worth the effort. It's position offers a great view of the town and surrounding hills.
On Via Raffaello, there is also the birthplace of town's most famous person - Raphael. The Casa Natale di Raffaello doesn't have much to offer - only one of his works is on display but you can see where Raphael and his father mixed their pigments.
If you are a plant enthusiast, there is also a small botanical garden nearby (Orto Botanico). It is full of rare plants.

Apart from the mentioned sights, we found Urbino a great place to wander around, drink a cup of a good coffee and take some time per guardare la gente che passa.


Thursday 12 April 2012

Hill towns of Umbria and Marche

We have just returned from a short trip (4 days really is short) around Italian regions of Umbria and Marche. I am glad to say that despite the changing weather it was a great trip and definitely a place worth returning to.
These two regions are a little bit less known compared to the neighboring Tuscany. Fortunately this also means they tend to get a little less crowded.

During this time of year we were able to find budget accommodations for 45 EUR per night (for a double room with breakfast). You can easily find a decent double room in a two star hotel for 60 EUR per night but if you are on a tighter budget, you should do some research before the start of your trip.

Like Tuscany, Umbria is also a place where those green rolling hills seem to just go on forever in all directions. In my opinion charming little medieval towns sitting on tops of those hills are a highlight of the region.

It doesn't really matter if you are a history buff, outdoor enthusiast or you simply love good food and wine... you can definitely find all of those in these parts of Italy.
During this recent trip we tried to taste a little bit of everything. We even took part in a hands-on chocolate making course.

These are Umbrian towns we had on our list and you should definitely try to fit them into your schedule when visiting the region: Assisi, Perugia, Montefalco, Spoleto, Todi, Gubbio and Narni.
Since we suspected we were not going to make it to all of those, we only added Urbino and a small town on the Conero coast from the region of Marche. At the northern end of Marche region there is also a whole another country worth visiting - it is San Marino.

Sadly we did not make it to all of the charming hill towns on the above list. Since we did not want to jump between them in a hurry, we figured we would rather come back at some other time and devote each of them the attention they deserve.
I suggest you do the same and try to relax and really feel the energy flowing through those narrow cobblestone streets.

I will post some useful details from the places we actually got to visit in future posts. Stay tuned to Travel Photo Blogging!

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