Friday, April 2, 2010

Urbino and San Marino

Because both were so close and too tempting to pass up we extended our postcard perfect day and drove to the town of Urbino followed by the principality of San Marino.
We went specifically to Urbino to see the National Gallery of the Marches in the Palazzo Ducale. Up, up, up we went. Rick refers to the town's "steep-stepped medieval ambience" - thankfully we happened upon a series of elevators helping our trek. We still felt the burn though - and when we reached the top it was a special, “I’m on top of the world” moment overlooking the green countryside below. Unsure of how our saturated bodies would handle another art museum I winced at paying for another museum entrance. Hallmark must have heard my pleas because Connor and I both got in free since it was “International Ladies Day” – we looked it up later and indeed it was a for real holiday. I am glad we didn't pass it up. Good Renaissance art always gets me going.Not only was the art fascinating, the palace museum itself told its own story of artistic wonder. This palace belonged to the Duke of Montefeltro in the mid 1400s. The exhibit rooms used to be bedrooms, sitting rooms, and kitchens. It exponentially boasts a museum's appeal when the setting is equally pleasing and noticeable to the art on the walls.
Can't you tell how much fun Connor is having?!? I remember these moments as a child...."Mooommmm! Can't we go already?!?" Although my inpatient bench stretches usually occurred in shopping malls and department stores as opposed to Italian Renaissance palaces!The art seemed still modern and scientific. Back out in Urbino, we did poke in the cathedral. I thought the Bible with illustrations was pretty neat. Certainly makes the stories come alive. Reminds me of my child's picture Bible from way back when.
After Urbino we were bound and determined to make it to San Marino before the sunset. So onward we pushed ourselves and our sorry automatic Italian rental car.

One part about Italian road trips that will always make me smile is remembering the toll roads. Why you ask? I still despise paying the road fees, but unlike in France where the machines silently and stingily gobble astronomical least in Italy you get a hearty, robotic "Arrividerci!" as the mechanical arm swings up. Kirk always answers the automated greeting back with a huge smile and his Italian repeat reply "Arrividerci!" and off we go feeling a little bit more appreciated for our investment.
It wasn't too long before we spotted San Marino in the distance. Like Lichtenstein, San Marino is a tiny principality - and technically another country surrounded by Italy.

We did manage to make it just in time for sunset. We climbed the castle towers and enjoyed our last Italian gelato. The way the country dangles along steep precipises gives you pause. We held on tight to each other.
Back in Bologna we fell into our hotel beds. What a day!


Dallas said...

Cool, I've never heard of San Marino... so does that complete it? Have you visited every country in Europe now?

Kirk, Reid and Connor said...

Not quite Dallas! We won't make it to all the Eastern European countries, but for Western Europe, the only one that we will miss is Andorra. I hoped to fit it into our Barcelona trip (blog still to come), but it was about 3 hours each way and there weren't any other sites on the way that we needed to see, so we had to let that one go. Oh well...