Barco Ducale is one of the most suggestive attractions of Urbania, just outside the town. It was built in 1465 at the behest of Federico da Montefeltro, one of the favorite places of Francesco Maria II Della Rovere, a place where he sometimes stopped to have lunch or sleep.
At the beginning it was a park used for hunting, it offered to the Duke a possibility of spiritual refreshment and entertainment. Connected to the Ducal Palace by the Metauro river, which knights and ladies went up by boat. Today it is practicable on foot using the panoramic and suggestive “Sentiero del Duca”.
Inside Barco Ducale we find a small fourteenth-century convent. It was enlarged between 1594 and 1596 for the will of the last duke, Francesco Maria II Della Rovere.
In 1719 a part of the convent collapsed because of very serious structural problems, so it was decided to abandon the ancient structure which was totally demolished and the material reused for the new building, whose wooden model, probably the work of P. Soratini, is exposed inside the Civic Museum of Urbania.
Today what we can admire is an eighteenth-century convent in Vanvitellian style, whose church dedicated to San Giovanni Battista was consecrated in 1771. In the refectory room of the Franciscan friars, frescoes dating back to the 18th century have been restored, including a “Last Supper” by the artist Gianfrancesco Ferri.
At Barco today there are laboratories of ceramics and artistic craftsmanship of the Civic Museum, held in collaboration with the Association of Friends of Ceramics.
To visit the structure it is necessary to contact the Tourist Office of Urbania.