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Urbino: the Fortress and the Kites

An ancient fortress now enjoys peace and recreation in the heart of Urbino

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Where is


61029 Urbino PU, Italia (476m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

The historic center of Urbino is a labyrinth of glimpses, narrow streets and marvelous buildings, which present themselves sequentially before our eyes. It may happen, however, to feel the desire to gather all this beauty in one glance. And maybe, even add a moment of relaxation after the walk. Well, Urbino, as always, does not disappoint. Not far from Raphael's house, we come to a hill that surrounded by mighty walls, holds an emerald green meadow and a very special building, which has no shortage of semicircular towers and ramparts: the Fortress of Urbino.

Why it is special

What is created here is a formidable play of contrasts. The building, with its solid, rectangular layout and austere air typical of buildings that fought to defend their city, stands out in the middle of the soft lawn that seems to know nothing but peace and leisure for those who frequent it. Who would think that in such a relaxing place, with a magnificent view of Urbino, bloody battles were fought? This is evidenced by the findings that occurred during archaeological excavations, and exhibited right inside the fortress in the "Bella Gerit" Museum.

Not to be missed

One of the favorite pastimes in the city, and to which the hill lends itself excellently, is kite flying. The traditional Kite Festival is also dedicated to this discipline, with the town's districts competing against each other precisely with kites. It usually takes place in August, and the main events are concentrated on Saturday and Sunday. The first day sees the parade and presentation of the participating city districts, in the historic center. The second is dedicated to the competition, while the awarding of the winning contrade for the various prizes takes place, in the evening, during the dinner among the contrade in the historic center.

A bit of history

The fortified mole, which dominates the city from the top of the so-called Pian del Monte, was built in the second half of the 14th century at the behest of Cardinal Egidio Alvares de Albornoz. Indeed, the latter had judged the old Feltresco fortress that stood nearby to be inadequate. Put to the test during the siege led by Antonio da Montefeltro 1375, it underwent several destructions and reconstructions over the centuries. At the beginning of the 16th century, the fortress was connected to the city's new bastioned walls, of which it came to be the northern-northern outpost.


Not only in the paintings, the spirit of Raphael still hovers in the streets, along the ups and downs with which the city welcomes its guests, with the fresh, pure air in that turquoise sky whose charm even Giovanni Pascoli could not resist, who dedicated the poem "L'aquilone." to Urbino the Ventosa.

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The Kite Festival is a competition among kites held in Urbino on the first Sunday in September since 1955, initially held at the Albornoz Fortress Park.


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