Out of Marche! Gubbio, former part of Montefeltro

I have been thinking about the idea of having this blog focused only on Marche, and yes, it does make sense because Marche has so much to offer, but still, why keep it only to one region, once you consider that regions were introduced only in 1970 in Italy, while towns have a much much longer history than that?Image

Take Gubbio for example, it certainly does not belong to Marche, as it is a typical Umbria town, yet its history is entangled with the history of Urbino, one of the most famous Renaissance towns in Italy. Ruled by the Montefeltro family, Urbino is one of the best examples of what the 1500’s were in Italy. Even though a small town, it managed to conquer more and more territories, all the way to Gubbio, across the Appennines. In fact, the dialect here sounds more like the one of Ancona than the one of Urbino, but you can  be certain everybody here feels a strong link to Marche. We are cousins, so to speak. So I thought, why not share my amazement at the beauty of Gubbio, just because it’s outside my region?

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That above is the impressive palace of Gubbio, which alone is worth a visit to this town, only 20 minutes away from Marche. One character I always think about when I think of Gubbio is Peppino Brunetti, a frame restorer and golden leaf expert who’s been living in Ancona for all his (long) life – he’s 86 – and yet he cannot forget his family was from Gubbio, and his blood belongs there. Just to give you an idea of how local we can be.. Here you can find a video on Peppino, with subtitles in english: 

The mummies of Urbania

The mummies of Urbania

It’s known as the town of the Befana (the ugly witch who feeds children with sugar coal on each jan. 6th) but Urbania deserves to be mentioned for something else instead: The church of the Dead. Corpses were naturally preserved in this ground since the 1500’s. As the people who were buried there had no money for coffins, decades later they discovered, while digging, that their corpses were still intact.. mummies!

This rare phenomena is due to a particular fungus of the ground, which naturally preserved the bodies of these people, who were buried there by an association that was taking care for burying poor people. Interestingly enough, there are personal records for each person, for example one died because he was stabbed in the heart during a dance, another was a woman who died during a cesarean birth. Very interesting place to visit, seriously.

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If you wonder why the province of Pesaro-Urbino includes the names of two towns, instead of being simply the Pesaro (by far bigger than Urbino) you probably don’t know enough about Urbino, Montefeltro, and its amazing renaissance history.. Next time I will tell you!