All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to email@example.com. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
A POPE FROM URBINO
In the XIIIth century the town of Urbino came into the possession of the
Montefeltro family and in the second half of the XVth century under
Federico da Montefeltro it
attained great prosperity.
Federico was a condottiere which in Latin is dux (hence duke) and the palace erected for him by Luciano Laurana shows many "F. D." in the decoration. Federico was however careful in maintaining good relationships with the Papacy and together with dux he also emphasized his being a comes (chevalier/knight) of the Church. So the balconies, which are the most distinctive feature of the palace, have the inscription "F. C.".
To retain their domain the Montefeltro allied with other powerful families, chiefly the Della Rovere. The daughter of Federico married Giovanni della Rovere, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV and his son Guidubaldo married Elisabetta Gonzaga, daughter of the duke of Mantua.
The coat of arms of Federico, showed his obedience to the Church by having a narrow vertical strip with the pope's heraldic symbols. In 1508 at the death of Guidubaldo, Urbino was bequeathed to his nephew Francesco Maria della Rovere and the coat of arms of the Montefeltro was enriched with the oak of the Della Rovere.
In 1626 Pope Urban VIII convinced the last and childless duke
Federico Maria II to return his possessions to the State of the Church.
Gian Francesco Albani had been appointed cardinal by Pope Alexander VIII and as a sign of gratitude he put over the entrance of his palace the coat of arms of this pope. The interior of the palace is decorated with the Albani's heraldic symbols : three mountains topped by a star.
XVIIIth century Lifestyle
Urbino, or to be more precise Castel Durante (renamed Urbania after Pope Urban VIII), had a tradition for high quality majolicas. This, coupled with the XVIIIth century passion for coffee and cocoa, explains why in the Cathedral Museum you can find this set with the family symbols.
Clement XI and his nephew Cardinal Annibale were very fond of Roman memories. Clement XI erected in Piazza della Rotonda an obelisk from the Temple of Isis; his nephew transferred to Urbino another obelisk from that temple and as usual topped it with the family symbols (to see all the obelisks of Rome click here).
Fountain of Pope Benedict XIII
The influence of the Albani lasted for a little while after the death in 1721 of Clement XI. This fountain
opposite Palazzo Albani bears the coat of arms of one his successors (Benedict XIII), but the stars are a reference
to the Albani.
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