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The religious itinerary of the City

A tour of the churches and monuments will reveal an excellent variety of architecture: an example of Gothic is to be found in the portal of the Chiesa dei Morti, the style of Civil and Military Renaissance (Church of Corpus Domini, as well as ducal palaces); Baroque (S. Caterina and San Francesco), the "Liberty" style in the architecture of the 1920s (Monument to the Dead and other buildings). There are works by important artists, from the middle ages to today, from Rimini painters of the 14th century to the bronze door of the Church of Santo Spirito by Augusto Ranocchi (2007).

 

The Cathedral

Previously it was the abbatial church of San Cristoforo del Ponte (IX century), from which the Romanesque bell tower and other traces remain. Restructured by Cardinal Bessarione, commendatory abbot of Casteldurante, who in 1472 brought the reliquary of the shoulder bone of Saint Christopher in an urn by Pollaiolo, it was renovated in the mid 1700s by architect Giuseppe Tosi, with a valuable neoclassical input. The façade is by Giuseppe Tacchi (1870), while the new bell tower (1958) by engineer Stefanucci. Inside, the major work is the crucifix by Pietro da Rimini (1320), in the apse, on the left "Pentecost" by Giustino Episcopi (late XVI century) an Urbania painter of the Roman School of Mannerism. In the church there are also works by Giorgio Picchi "Saint Ubaldo" and the "Nativity of San Giovanino" (late XVI century) and other Baroque artists. The chapel of San Cristoforo houses the statue of its patron saint in chromatic fig wood (1768). The figure of Christopher is singular, a sort of Christian Hercules, protector of travellers and of motorists today. In Urbania from the early '20s, the 25th July has been the day to bless cars with the saint's reliquary (the shoulder bone upon which Christopher carried baby Jesus across a ford). Part of the cathedral is the Episcopal Palace (XIV-XV centuries), the home of the Diocesan Museum.

 

 

Church of Spirito Santo - Votive Temple

Opposite the cathedral, former church of Spirito Santo, the temple was erected to remember the victims of the disastrous air bombardment suffered by Urbania on 23 January 1944. Inside Augusto Ranocchi commemorates the sad event with a large mosaic in the apse (1969) and outside one may admire its dramatic plasticity, the bronze door by the same artist (2007). The façade is by the architect Del Mastro.
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Church of Santa Caterina, former Confraternity of Artists

The church, seat of the Confraternity of Artists, has an entrance with 2 doric columns and friezes in the cornice. The interior, decorated with stuccos and frescoes is entirely by Urbania artists beginning with Taddeo Zandrini, architect (1522), the ceiling frescoes showing the history of Santa Caterina are by Luzio Dolce, "The transport of Santa Caterina" at the central altar is by Donnino Berti (1592); "I profeti" in the niches are sculpted by Tommaso Amantini, one of the best modellers and stucco decorators of the XVII century and of Raffaelli, master ceramist and stucco decorator.

 

 

Church and convent of San Francesco

The oldest part is XVII century, the XV century bell tower with a Romanesque imprint; in the external atrium is the portal attributed to Lorenzo Ghiberti. It was completely rearranged in the XVIII century and is considered to be a successful expression of late Marche Baroque. Of notable interest are the large altar-piece of the central altar by Giorgio Picchi "The Assumption of the Virgin" (1582), and the "Adoration of the Magi" by Giustino Episcopi, Urbania painter. In the first altar on the left is another work by Picchi "The Nativity" and in the second the "Crucifix" by Apolloni; the church organ is by Arcangelo Feligiotti (1762). The old Franciscan convent was transformed into a diocesan seminary (1833-1848), active until the '70s, whereas the cloister was frescoed with the Life of San Francesco (Saint Francis) by Giorgio Picchi (c. 1570)

 

 

Church of San Giovanni Evangelista

Facing San Francesco there was a church that was demolished in 1905, of which only a Renaissance portal and façade remain. At the civic museum the three large altar pieces painted by Claudio Ridolfi (1636) and Domenico Peruzzini (1650/51) are to be found. In the Diocesan Museum there are paintings and wood ornaments originating from this church.

 

 

Small church called "Dei Cassoni" and oratory of the Madonna, Mother of the Saviour

At the crossroads after Largo Paolo Scirri (ex Piazza Padella) and before the Cocci bridge, there is a church called "Della Madonna dei Cassoni" named after an old local family. The small oratory houses the delicate painting of the "Mater Salvatoris" by a local XVIII century artist. The image is the object of popular cult and is shown every year in July in the Piazza Padella opposite during the feast-day of the district. At Christmastime a much appreciated miniature nativity is displayed here.

 

 

Church and convent of Santa Maria Maddalena

This monastery was the house of Benedictine monks and is of ancient foundation (VII century). In 1576 the church and complex were restored. At the main altar is the famous "Maddalena Penitente" "Repentant Magdalene" by Guido Cagnacci (1637); at the side altars there are canvases by Maurizio Sparagnini and Giuseppe Luzi (XIX century). There are also valuable works in wood, among which a statue of San Rocco of 1534. The church is the object of popular devotion for its effigy of the Santa Bambina celebrated on 8th September. To find out more:
www.benedettineurbania.it

 

 

Church and convent of Santa Chiara

The complex, founded in 1200 by the Damianites of Assisi, was rearranged in 1626 and has housed the Clarisse nuns since 1975. The oldest part is flanked to the main body constructed by the ducal architect Gerolamo Genga (XVI century), now the seat of the Technical, Commercial Institute for Land Surveyors "Francesco Maria II Della Rovere". The interior is frescoed by Luzio Dolci and Giustino Episcopi, the monastery by Giorgio Picchi (XVI century). The building is contemporary with the earliest buildings in Urbania; it was a real and true forge which had links to the dukes of Urbino, to the family and the count Bernardino Ubaldini, who is buried here. The interior is full of works of art, among which is the major altar-piece "Madonna with Baby and Saints", masterpiece by Gerolamo Cialdieri (1629), besides works by Giovan Francesco Guerrieri, a fresco by the Urbino school and works by Episcopi, (late 1500s).
At Christmastime the historic nativity of the town is displayed here.
*The church is closed to visits (open during the Christmas period for viewing the nativity)

 

 

Oratorio del Corpus Domini former seat of the Confraternita dei Flagellati

The interior is a single space with re-used capitals installed here at the beginning of the XVI century during a refurbishment of the oratory. The church is frescoed for the most part by Raffaelin del Colle, notable mannerist painter (c. 1535), with the series "The Prophets" and "The Sibyls". "Christ Risen" and "The Madonna of the Veil". In addition to "The Last Supper" by Giorgio Picchi (1586) and the "Dead Christ" is a XV century wooden sculpture by carvers of the Upper Metauro valley.

 

 

Oratorio del Carmine

The Oratory of the Madonna del Carmine has existed since at least 1478; it is small and camouflaged between houses and has a notable altar framed in travertine with an early XIV century fresco above by Giuliano da Rimini featuring "The Madonna enthroned with Baby", brought here in 1517 from the adjacent destroyed rock.
In 1604 Giorgio Picchi decorated the walls with the stories of the life of the Madonna.

 

 

Church of the S.S.mo Crocifisso (or "of the hospital") - Tomb of the last duke of Urbino

The church, former XV century Oratorio della Neve, was reconstructed at the beginning of the XVII century by the Caracciolini friars (of San Francesco Caracciolo) established at Casteldurante upon the wishes of Francesco Maria II della Rovere, to whom the same duke entrusted the ducal library. The convent, considerably refurbished, is now the home of the hospital, whereas the church, restored in the XVIII century houses valuable paintings, among which a "Crucifix" and the "Madonna with Baby" (or "Of The Clouds" or popularly "Of The Snow"), both attributed to Federico Barocci, 1604.
Below, an alabaster holy-water font is the tomb of Francesco Maria II Della Rovere, the last duke of Urbino, who ordered his tomb to be placed in the church (1631). His body was then stolen in circumstances that remain mysterious.
The church may be visited by contacting the parish cathedra.

 

 

Convent and church of the Cappuccini - Convent of the Clarisse

Complex dating back in its present state to 1758, positioned upon a hill above the road to Urbino, and since 1975 convent of the Clarisse nuns. Previously it was occupied by the Clarisse fathers and built by them in the XVI century. Inside the church is the "Madonna with Saint Michael Archangel and Francis of Assisi" (school of Barocci). At the right hand altar is a "Madonna" by Pietro Tedeschi (1786). From the courtyard of the church a panorama of Urbania and the upper Metauro valley may be enjoyed.

 

 

Sanctuary of the S.S.mo Crocifisso di Battaglia

A short way from Urbania's centre, towards Peglio is the Santuario di Battaglia, thus named in honour of Marino Antonio Battaglia of Urbania who wanted to build in 1634 a small oratory dedicated to the Crucifix. Inside, upon the central altar there is the "Santissimo Crocifisso", restored in the 1700s by Martino Giovanni Doix.
Following miraculous events in 1717, devotion increased and the complex was extended to allow it to accommodate pilgrims. From September 2007 the outdoor route of the Via Crucis is open with the 15 shrines in ceramics by sculptor Augusto Ranocchi.