The grand fairytale palace is the centerpiece of Urbino and Le Marche's most important art museum. The Palazzo Ducale was built by Duke Federico Montefeltro, the rule of Urbino for forty years. During his rule he restyle Urbino into his idea of an ideal city of beauty and comfort, adding a court-full of artists and writers to enrich the cultural landscape of the city.

His opulent palace looks like a storybook castle with its slender twin cylindrical towers. A grand courtyard and rich salons added to the appeal. A tour of the Palazzo Ducale is interesting, not just for the museums it holds but for the glimpse of Renaissance-era life it affords: you can visit the stables, the kitchen, the storerooms and quarters below the noble residence.

The most noted museum is the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, the region's most prestigious collection of artwork that includes paintings by Raphael, Titian and Piero della Francesca. You'll also enjoy other artists, frescoes, sculptures, and furnishings, along with the duke's library, his tiny wooden studio, two chapels and a grand banquet hall. The noble apartments are interesting to see, as well.

The Archeological Museum Lapidario hold five rooms of antique artifacts, while the Museo della Ceramica puts the area's ceramics traditions on display.

The museums are open on Mondays from 8:30 AM til 2:00 PM; on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:30 AM til 7:15 PM. Closed Sundays.

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Address in Urbino:

Piazza Rinasciamento.

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