The new owner of my sweet painting-on-silk of the piazza in Urbino, Italy, of a view looking through the town at the hillside beyond, asked me to write about the painting, and the experience that inspired it:
Urbino was a Roman town that eventually became a center of learning, sophistication, and the fine arts in the 15th Century. It is located towards the north of Italy, an hour from the Adriatic Coast. The great artist Raphael was born in Urbino; his father was court painter for Fredrico da Montefeltro (1422-1483), the Duke known for supporting the arts who lost his right eye in a tournament, and would only allow his portrait to be painted showing the left side of his face.
My daughter, Kate, studied Art History & Italian at the University of Urbino (founded in 1506!) for the academic year 2004-2005, and we visited her there during Thanksgiving-time. A few kilometers from town we stayed on a farm overlooking the beautiful rolling Italian countryside. A Giant Schnauzer named Ula lived on the farm, and she would visit us every evening, come in, and stay awhile. In Urbino, I had the best hot chocolate ever - it was dark & thick, thickened with potato starch! Besides the hot chocolate, I must say it was wonderful to be in an Italian hill town with its Renaissance Architecture and fabulous use of space. The hills were steep & the pathways winding, and there was one main street, Via Giuseppe Mazzini, that seemed to go straight up into the sky. The views revealed at the top made any climb in the area well worth the effort.