Urbino, a medieval city in Italy

It takes about half an hour to walk to the bus station. You can buy tickets in a small kiosk.

I ask for two return tickets to Urbino. The lady answers with a torrent of Italian. I beg her to slow down, but she continues her ramblings unaffected. I understand very little, and it doesn't help one bit when she looks to the sky and moans an appealing: "Mam-ma!".

Slowly I reach the conclusion that if I buy return tickets for the express bus, we will have to return with the express bus and cannot use the non-express, or maybe I will loose a few cents - who knows. I realize that the only way to silence this woman - and get to Urbino - is to buy one way tickets.

By bus to Urbino

Urbino's City Gate

The express bus arrives, and in five minutes all seats are taken. There are 36 km to Urbino, and it takes 35-40 minutes through a lush and hilly landscape. The bus stops right outside the city wall and gate.

Urbino is well preserved and appears almost like in medieval times with its old houses. It is on UNESCO's long list. Most houses are greyish brown stone houses with 2-3 floors, green shutters and tiled roofs. Streets are narrow and winded and at places steep and difficult to negotiate for the walking impaired.

We get a map and a brochure at the tourist office opposite the cathedral and Palazzo Ducale. We study them over a cup of coffee at Piazza Nazionale.

There are quite a few tourists in town, but it is not crowded yet - it is early in the day and the season.

Tiled roofs in Urbino From Urbino
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Palazzo Ducale

Of course we want to visit the national gallery (Galleria Nazionale delle Marche) with its renaissance art in Palazzo Ducale. A ticket costs 8 . There are many rooms and halls. There is a fireplace in almost every room, and over the fireplace is the family crest with an eagle.

Room after room, hall after hall with paintings of Maria and the child, the child and Maria, the child with Maria and holy men etc. 99 % of the motifs are from the biblical world. It doesn't really appeal to us and we pass through pretty quickly. However we take time to admire the building and the incredible wooden panels with inlaid wood (intarsia). These motifs are more worldly and varied.

Narrow street in Urbino Palazzo Ducale in Urbino From Palazzo Ducale in Urbino
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Unfortunately the archaeological exhibition is closed, so we spend five minutes with the church silver on display. The library hasn't got a single book. Deep inside Helle finally finds what we haven't been able to locate so far: a small niche with a seat and a hole. Above it a small niche in the wall with space for a candle and whatever was used for personal hygiene in a medieval palace.

Helle is tempted by some postcards depicting the panels, but there is no-one in the small souvenir shop. However a woman appears out of nowhere when an abandoned cell phone cries out, and when she has comforted the phone she cannot ignore the customers.

Lunch in Urbino

It is time for an early lunch. It is not obvious how to find a place in this labyrinth, but fortunately there are signs to various restaurants on some street corners. Here and there houses open to beautiful views over the landscape. We drop in at ristorante Al Contuccio in Via F. Budassi. We are the first guests and are very welcome.

Helle has fussili (pasta) with giant prawns and asparagous, and I have gnocchi with pesto and giant prawns. With this fresh bread. It is delicious.

It is now one o'clock and too hot to walk about to be comfortable. So we agree to return to Pesaro. Tickets are purchased in a kiosk just outside the city gate. It is the 'normal' bus, not the express. It has no air condition and it is at least 35 C. Pyh!

The bus goes on a deliberate detour via villages, and it takes about an hour before we can get off near the hotel.

Last Evening in Pesaro

Sugar bag from Bar Carlo

At 18:30 we go to Carlo's. "Wine and water, please, and down with the cold!" Fortunately Carlo doesn't serve a buffet of snacks like some other places - just some pickled vegetables and some chips.

The planned restaurant, Felici e contenti, turns out to be closed Mondays, and so are C'era una Volta and da Sante.

In Via Venturini near Piazzale Lazzarini we find Osteria degli Artisti. We are the first guests and are welcomed very politely by a young dark haired beauty with Bambi-eyes.

We are not starved, but need something. We order some bruschette miste, pieces of toast with tomato, olive paste, smoked cheese, fried zucchini and one with a fried mix of mushrooms, zucchini and peppers.

Osteria degli Artisti in Pesaro.

Helle has risotto with sea food, and I have deep-fried squid and prawns. Some need peeling and that is greasy work. My mixed salad is served as last course.

Two other guests have arrived. I believe they speak Finnish, but when you are so few at a restaurant, you automatically lower your voice. We have seen or heard only a few foreign tourists in this city - some Americans and Germans.

By the door to the toilet is a cage with a dwarf rabbit. It is not on the menu and suggests that the young woman was recently a girl. Our guess is mother in the kitchen and daughter to wait on the guests.

We have no room for dessert and finish off with coffee and grappa. The girl asks if we want the grappa "secco" or "morbido". I know that secco means dry, so morbido is probably sweet.

She doesn't speak English, so I say: "Non secco!" and that we'll have whatever she recommends. She is too young to have much grappa experience, but the grappa in the bottle with the house logo is excellent. "Down with the cold!"

We are billed 37 . There was dressing on the salad I could not eat, so I leave a tip for rabbit fodder.