Province of Pesaro and Urbino, Italy. The city of Urbino is situated on a hill between the valleys of the Metaurus and Foglia, in a mountainous but well-cultivated country. The cathedral, near the ducal palace, was designed by Count Federico da Montefeltre; but was completely transformed in the nineteenth century, as the cupola added in the sixteenth century and a large portion of the edifice were ruined in 1789. Some valuable pictures are still preserved there, a "Last Supper" and a "San Sebastiano of Barocci" in the sacristy, the "Scourging" by Pier della Francesca, in the oratory of the crypt a "Pietà" of Giovanni da Bologna. Other churches; S. Francesco (completed in 1350), partly Roman, partly Gothic, contains exquisite sculptures of Constantino Trappola, paintings by Barocci, Procaccini, and others. S. Dominico (1365), originally Gothic, but completely transformed in 1732; over the main door is a high relief of Lucca della Robbia. S. Agostino was also Gothic. The frescoes in the oratory of S. Giovanni Battista by Jacopo and Lorenzo Sanseverino, including a "Crucifixion", are important in the history of painting: S. Spirito (standards of Luca Signorelli), S. Bernardino (Bramante), S. Giuseppe (Adoration of the Magi, a relief by Brandini). The ducal palace was erected by Duke Federico, with Luciano di Laurana (1447) as architect; illustrious sculptors and painters were engaged to adorn it, but many of their works are now in foreign museums. Among those remaining are the statue of Duke Federico; the carvings on the edges of the doors, windows, and chimney-pieces; paintings by Margaritone, Antonio da Ferrara ("Crucifixion", "Baptism of Christ"), Paolo Uccello ("Profanation of the Host"), Giusto di Grand ("Last Supper"), Giovanni Santi, Raphael's father ("Timoteo Viti"); Titian ("Resurrection"). The duke's study, with its magnificent inlaid door and its ceiling, contains two oratories. The Castracane palace has an important collection of paintings. Urbino has a university with faculties of law, mathematico-physics, and a school of pharmacy and obstetrics, and a hospital founded in 1265. Urbino is the native place of Bartolommeo Carusi, theologian and professor at Bologna and Paris; Federico Commandini (1509), mathematician; Bernardini Baldi (seventeenth century), poet; Ludovio della Vernaccia (thirteenth century), poet; Laura Battiferri-Ammanati (seventeenth century), poet; the archeologist, Mgr. Fabretti (1619); the painters, Raffaello Sanzio and Federico Barocci; Bramante and Genga, father and son, architects; the sculptor, Federico Brandani, and Clement XI.
Urbino is the ancient Urbinum Mataurense, a Roman municipium. The city and its environs are rich in inscriptions, one of which is certainly Christian. Urbino was held by the Goths, but was captured by Belisarius (538). Under Pepin it became part of the pontifical domain. By the eleventh century it had a commune. Becoming the capital of the counts of Montefeltre, it increased in importance. In 1213 Bonconte di Montefeltro was elected podestà of Urbino. The Urbinese rebelled, formed an alliance with the commune of Rimini (1228), and by 1234 were masters of the city. He and his descendants were leaders of the Ghibellines of the Marches and the Romagna. Montefeltrano succeeded (1214-55), and Guido (1255-86 and 1293-6). Boniface VIII absolved him from censures and employed him against Palestrina and the Colonna. Federico I (1296-1322) increased his domains by taking from the Holy See Fano, Osimo, Recanati, Gubbio, Spoleto, and Assisi. His exorbitant taxes led to his murder, and the city recognized the papal supremacy. But in 1323 his son Nolfo (1323-59) was proclaimed lord of Urbino. In 1355, on the coming of Cardinal Albornoz, the papal sovereignty was again recognized, but not without loss of territory. Federico II was entirely despoiled. His son, Antonio (1377-1403), profited by the rebellion of the Marches and Umbria against the Holy see (1375) to restore his authority in Urbino. Guido Antonio (1403-43) was appointed by Martin V (1419) ruler of the Duchy of Spoleto, and carried on war against Braccio di Montone with varying fortune. Oddo Antonio, after a few months' government, was assassinated for his crimes. The Urbanese then offered the lordship to Federico III (1444-82), the illegitimate son of Guido Antonio, a pupil of Vittorino da Feltre's school and a lover of art. Under him Urbino became the resort of the brightest minds of the Renaissance. He was implicated in the wars against Sigismondo Malatesta, the pope, Rene of Anjou, and Florence. Sixtus IV conferred on him the title of Duke of Urbino (1474). Guidubaldo I (1492-1508) escaped by flight the plots of Caesar Borgia. He adopted Francesco Maria della Rovere (1508-38), his sister's child, and thus the signoria of Sinigaglia was united to Urbino. He aided Julius II in reconquering the Romagna. Leo X deprived him of his territory, which was given to Lorenzo de' Medici, and later to Giovanni Maria Varano (1516-21). On Leo's death Federico III reascended the throne. The internal government was almost entirely in the hands of duchess Eleonora Gonzaga. Guidubaldo II (1538-74), by his marriage with Giullia di Varano, obtained the Ducy of Camerino, which he had to cede in 1539 to Paul III for 60,000 scudi. In 1572 the Urbinese rebelled against taxation, but were suppressed. Francesco Maria II (1574-1631) endeavoured to reduce the taxes imposed by his father. In 1606 and 1626 he withdrew from the government to study natural sciences, and appointed a commission of eight to rule. On the assassination of his only son, Federico Ubaldo, in 1624, he placed his domains under the Holy See.
The first known bishop of Urbino is Leontius, to whom St. Gregory entrusted the Diocese of Rimini (592). Other bishops: Theodoricus, who in 1021 transferred the cathedral within the city (the ancient cathedral was outside); Blessed Mainardo (1057). Under Bishops Egidio (1288) and Carrado, O. S. A. (1309), Blessed Pelnigotto, a Franciscan Tertiary and Blessed Clare of Rimini lived in the city. Marco Boncioni, O. P. (1342); Fra Bartolommeo Carusi, O. S. A. (1347), theologians. Under Francesco, O. Min. (1379), the hermitage of the Gerolamini on Monte Cesana was established; Oddone Colonna (1380), later Martin V; Gian Pietro Arrivabeni (1491), learned writer and restorer of discipline; Cardinal Gregorio Cortese, O. S. B. (1542); Felice Tiranni (1551), reformer of religious life. In 1563 Pius IV made the see metropolitan, with the suffragans, Cagli, Sinigaglia, Pesaro, Forssombrone, Montefeltro, and Gubbio. Under Antonio Giannotti (1578) the seminary was opened; Ascanio Maffei (1646) restored many churches; Ignazio Ranaldi, oratorian (1819), restored the discipline of the seminary and the religious orders. The archdiocese has now, as suffragans, S. Angelo in Vado, Cagli, and Pergola, Fossambrone, Pesaro, Senigallia; it contains 99 parishes; 32,600 inhabitants; 130 secular and regular priests; 1 house of religious (men); 4 convents of nuns; 4 educational institutions for boys and 2 for girls.
CAPPELLETTI, Le chiese d' Italia, III (Venice, 1845); LIPPARINI, Urbino in Italia artistica, VI (Bergamo, 1907); UGOLINO, Storia dei conti e dei duchi di Urbino (Florence, 1859); ALBANI, Memorie concernenti la citta di Urbino (Rome, 1724); GUERRINI, Degli womini illustri di Urbino (Urbino, 1879); DENNISTOWN, Memories of the Dukes of Urbino illustrating the arms, arts, and literature of Italy from 1440 to 1630 (London, 1851); DELABORDE, Les ducs et la cour d'Urbino in revue des Deux Mondes, II (1851), 393-440.