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?


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: 

Mondavio: who won here in 1462, the Malatesta or the Montefeltro? The Vatican!

Yes, this picture is out of season.. now it’s spring and a foggy day might just mean an even warmer day. Time to put that coat in the closet for next winter. And certainly the past winter doesn’t promise anything good for next year. February in fact has been extremely harsh in Marche, especially in the northern province of Pesaro-Urbino. That’s where you can find Mondavio, whose main attraction, the castle is definitely worth a visit. And again, also the food is quite impressive, especially in the truffles’ season, in autumn.

Mondavio’s castle is preserved very well, and it also contains a wax museum, where late medieval scenes are reproduced in a perfect setting. We are again in the area of Machiavelli’s “The prince”, not far from Montefeltro, the region of Urbino, where Raphael was born. Mondavio is a perfect location, as it is equally distant to the sea and to the mountains, just across Ancona’s province. In 1462 this place saw its greatest battle, between the Malatesta family, ruling over the coastline between today’s Marche and Emilia-Romagna, and the Vatican-backed Montefeltro family from Urbino, which controlled an area across Marche and Umbria. The Vatican won, and Mondavio was given to the Della Rovere family, which had connected with the Montefeltro, whose Guidobaldo was however attacked by “Il Valentino”, Machiavelli’s infamous “prince”. With the end of the Della Rovere dynasty, Mondavio became officially under the jurisdiction of the Vatican, which kept it so until the unity of Italy.

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