I think the Marches are poised to become the "next" Tuscany or Umbria. It's not far from Florence and is relatively undiscovered.
If you go, try the Ascoli olives--I can't remember the correct name in Italian. They are olives that are stuffed and then deep-fried. A lot of work for an appetizer!
Cover charges and tipping
When you are seated at an Italian restaurant, you should anticipate paying "coperto" or a cover charge, assessed on a per person basis. This ranges from something minimal to several euros, presumably depending upon the restaurant although I never analyzed this during our trip. Since the cover charge is intended to compensate the restaurant for the cost of doing business, including the employment of the wait staff, I was told not to apply the American standard of tipping 15% or more of the bill. Rather, the tradition seemed to be to put one's excess change on top of the credit card slip or cash to cover the meal. That sometimes resulted in several euros' "tip" but it would still be a fraction of what I'd pay at home, even if one included the coperto.
Urbino, a brief special visit for a Festa del Duca
Well, what can I say about Urbino? Actually not much because it wasn’t a typical travel visit that brought me here. I came here with special people late afternoon of August 15, 2010 for Festa del Duca. We went into a palazzo at Piazza della Repubblica, dropped our belongings, and swarmed out for a brief 30 minutes tourist visit, got back for group dinner and dressed up for the festa’s last event, the corteo storico. What came then was magic of course, and you might get an idea watching the short promotional video of Festa del Duca on RAI.
Would I come back? Yes, maybe, to visit Palazzo Ducale and see the marvellous art collection it is famous for. Did I like Urbino? Well, yes, it is a nice city, but when we were all standing up on the fortezza hill looking down to the city, especially at the two roundish towers of Palazzo Ducale, the guys and girls (of Società dei Balestrieri di Gubbio) asked me if I like the city and which city is more beautiful in my opinion. I almost fell on the ground laughing (not a proper behaviour for an Italian Renaissance girl of course) and said what I still think today: no, Urbino, even if it is UNESCO listed, can never ever be as beautiful as Gubbio is. Urbino looks very inhomogeneous in style and just does not have this special atmosphere.
All pictures have been taken by myself, if not marked otherwise.
Please do not use any of them without my permission.
The same applies for my writings here.
LA CITTÀ DEL VENTO
"MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE"
- I've been living in Urbino for a long time and I will only compare it to Salamanca (Spain). The city is built in a mountain and a half and has walls to protect the old city. The streets are narrow and the buildings mix the essence of Medieval and Renaissance styles. The Federico di Montefeltro's Duch Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and the house of Raffaelo Sanzio are the most visited spots in the city, but the most beautiful thing is to walk through the alleys and enter in the little chappels and churches that fill the city. There's a fortress too (Fortezza Albornoz).
- The other thing that makes Urbino similar to Salamanca and beign known all around Italy and Europe is the University (Università degli Studi di Urbino). The Schools are located in beautiful palaces with painted walls and sculptures. The little town of Urbino is a melting pot of students coming from all over Europe (Greece, Germany, Spain,...) and different parts of Italy. As you will imagine, every single day thousands of students are parting in town or in the University Colleges. The nightlife (monday to sunday) is well know in the area and people from other cities and regions come to Urbino's bars.