Day 4: Ricardo tells us of Urbino.

Ricardo, our local guide for Urbino, met us at the hotel and proceeded to tell us everything there is to know about Urbino.

A true "Urbinite," Ricardo's personality exuded charm.  Passionate, knowledgeable, and with a great sense of humor, he guided us through the palace and then on a walking tour afterwards.  He spoke to us non-stop for 3 hours and we never tired of him.

The palace itself was full of works of art, with my favorite being the wooden inlays in a small room the duke used as a study.  Some, such as one of a squirrel, were so realistic they almost looked alive.  No pictures allowed, though.  You should see them in person anyway as pictures would not do justice.

The palace had central heating and a big ice maker that you would shovel snow into at the top and ice would come out of the bottom, a fascinating achievement - and we're talking 1500 AD here!

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After the tour of the palace Ricardo walked us around town, giving us a feeling of life here, showing us the good restaurants, and eventually guiding us to a large park that overlooked the city with a view framing the old stone buildings against the surrounding countryside in a timeless and almost mystical way.  We hung around here for a while so that everybody could get a picture in.

A number of us had lunch together in a restaurant next to a garden.  We spent some time attempting to get a pigeon to fly onto a ledge next to a purple flower so that we could a good picture of it.  The best picture I could get is the one on the left.

After lunch there were a few hours of free time, so I ventured off by myself to an internet cafe to catch up on my email.

Urbino is another college town like Padua.  We often saw the University of Urbino students hanging out in the main square of town, where there was a small market and a favorite pizza joint.  Freyja bought a rose plant at the market to bring with her for the rest of the trip.

We ran into another Rick Steves Italy tour here, the Piedmont to Palermo tour, which was a special one planned by Dave Hoerlein.  We would bump into them again farther south.

Brad brought us together again as a group for dinner at a nice restaurant.  Our group was quite loud, happily enjoying the meal, laughing and chatting, and I hope we did not offend others having their dinner.

After dinner, Freyja, Cynthia and I decided to take a walk back up to the park where we took such nice pictures from earlier (a night picture of Urbino could be great), but we were foiled when we found the park gate locked.

On the way back we were distracted by a very loud cricket and we hunted down the rascal.  It was the biggest cricket I had ever seen and took a picture to make sure it was documented.


The view from the park was my imagination come-to-life.  So the things you dream about do exist, somewhere.

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Last updated 02/28/2004 .  Email me at