Day 29 – Urbino

Today started out iffy because of the possible train sciopero/strike lurking in the ether. Due to the deaths of five maintenance workers, the train unions called a strike for 24 hours starting in the afternoon of August 31st.

All was very unclear. Were the trains going to run? I headed to the train station where I asked the train clerk about the strike. He said that no trains were canceled “al momento.”

That means at any moment things could change. But I was able to go from Ravenna to Rimini then on to Pesaro without problems, although both trains were half an hour late.

Lots of passengers got on at the coastal beach towns, making the cars crowded. That’s my big blue suitcase in the foreground.

Finally arriving at Pesaro, I had to buy a ticket for a bus to Urbino. I took my place at the end of a long line and fortunately was able to hop on the bus that was leaving right a couple of minutes after I bought my ticket.

The bus stops at a commercial center in Urbino. To reach the city center, an elevator goes up to a supermarket, then another elevator goes up to the level for the city center.

I could not find the second elevator despite going in circles around the empty mall. A kind young man located it for me right out in the open but with no signs indicating its use.

Urbino sits high on a hill, so I was glad to get some help from Adalberto with my luggage.

The lodging is fabulous. I couldn’t ask for a better view from the bedroom window.


The Ducal Palace and the Cathedral are in plain sight.

And the place is in a 16th century building, with a entry hall beautifully appointed. It was the birthplace and home of Federico Commandino, who brought to light many ancient works of Greek mathematicians, greatly influencing thought in the Renaissance.

After settling in a bit, I take a walk around the area. I immediately see a street to the left which I will avoid if at all possible.

I don’t get more than a few paces before I come to a door that opens onto this chapel. It’s the Oratory of Five Wounds founded in the 1600s by a confraternity that worships Christ’s passion. It is the only Baroque/Rococo church in Urbino.

I’m always struck by these indulgence placards declaring that those who perform certain prayers in a particular way will get an indulgence, this one from the Archbishop for 30 days.

I wasn’t sure what an indulgence means, so I looked it up and got even more confused. Suffice it to say that the Church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1567. They must be worth something if people would pay for them, right?

Urbino put up these plaques to honor Vittorio Emanuele II, Founder of the Nation, Father of the Country and Giuseppe Garibaldi, Fighter for the People’s Rights and Champion of Italian Liberty.

I like that the waitress is keeping the plants thriving in this little piazza.

The Duke of Urbino, Federico di Montefeltro’s mausoleum seen from afar. I will not get to it because I don’t have a car.

A facade of the Duke’s enormous palace.

I am hoodwinked into taking this little trolley around town. I thought I signed up for a walking tour, but then the little chug-chug showed up. ACH!

But ok, I got on and was not disappointed by the ride around the hilly terrain and the opportunity to see places I would not likely see if walking.

After the trolley ride, I entered the Church of San Francesco, which was holding a sale for its African Mission.

Doilies and tablecloths, but I did manage to buy 3 meters of vintage handwoven hemp and cotton fabric. I would have taken more, but my luggage is already too heavy.

As I was leaving, a church woman approached me and told me her great-grandmother had woven that fabric. It seemed that she didn’t want to see it go, although many meters remained. I showed her some photos of my eco-prints, hoping that would make her feel that her great-grandmother’s work was in good hands.

Urbino has 10 contradas, or neighborhoods, amazing for such a small area. Each contrada has put up banners marking its area. I am fortunate to have arrived on the weekend of the Festa Aquilone.

At first, I had thought that Aquilone had to do with EAGLES, perhaps something to do with knights fighting amongst the contradas, but I find out the the Aquilone festival involves kites, not birds.

I’m not sure what to expect, but we shall see tomorrow.

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