Duchy of Urbino

Duchy of Urbino

Ducato di Urbino
Flag of Urbino, Duchy
Coat of arms of Urbino, Duchy
Coat of arms
The Duchy of Urbino in the 17th Century
The Duchy of Urbino in the 17th Century
Capital Urbino
(1443 - 1523)
(1523 - 1631)
Official languages Italian
Roman Catholicism
Government Duchy
Historical era Renaissance, Early modern period
•  Oddantonio da Montefeltro
is elevated to duke
by Pope Eugene IV
• The duchy is annexed
to the Papal States
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Papal States
Papal States
Today part of  Italy

The Duchy of Urbino was an independent duchy in early modern central Italy, corresponding to the northern half of the modern region of Marche. It was directly annexed by the Papal States in 1625.

It was bordered by the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Republic of Florence in the west and the Papal States in the south. In 1523 the capital was moved from Urbino to Pesaro. After the short rule by Cesare Borgia in 1502–08, the dukedom went to the della Rovere papal family, who held it until 1625, when Pope Urban VIII annexed it to the Papal States as Legazione del Ducato di Urbino (later Legazione di Urbino).


The birth of the duchy dates back to 1443, by virtue of the appointment of Oddantonio da Montefeltro as Duke of Urbino by Pope Eugene IV. The Duchy had for a long time the city of the same name as its capital, which soon became one of the focal points of the Italian Renaissance, rivaling Florence and Siena as a center of art, culture, and commerce.[1] In 1506 the University of Urbino was founded.


In 1610, a contemporary estimate printed by the Elzevirs gave the duchy's annual income as over 200,000 scudi, and the duke's fortune at St. Leo as 2,000,000 scudi. In 1624, Mercurius Gallicus estimated the revenue of the duchy at 300,000 scudi. In regards to population, Zane estimated 150,000 for the duchy at the start of the 17th century, and the military at 10,000 fighting men, half of whom were soldiers and the other half militia. Three-fourths of the duchy's military force was available for foreign service. In 1591, the military force of the duchy amounted to 13,313 fighting men, of whom 8,300 carried arquebuses and 3,783 wore marions.A contemporary census places the duchy's population in 1598 at 115,121. The last legation census before the dissolution of the duchy gave the population as 220,000 in an area of 5,556 square kilometers (giving nearly 40 people per square kilometer), with Urbino (the urban area) having 12,000 (7,500 in the city proper, 4,500 in the adjacent district). [2]

In 1574, few to none of the nobility had annual revenues of more than 3,000 scudi, but many burgesses made 300-400 scudi annually. The few merchants were chiefly from outside the duchy. A few years after the loss of the duchy's independence, the papacy drew 100,000 scudi annually from direct and fiscal taxation. The militia at the time number 8,000 infantry and 500 cavalry, plus the garrison of Sinigaglia. [3]

List of rulers of Urbino

Lords until 1213, counts thereafter until 1443, thereafter dukes.

Name Birth Reign Death Consort
Antonio I da Montefeltro c.1184
Montefeltrano I da Montefeltro c.1184 1202
Montefeltrano II da Montefeltro 1242 1255
Guido da Montefeltro 1223 1255 29 September 1298
Bonconte I da Montefeltro 1250 11 June 1289 Giovanna da Montefeltro
Papal control 1285 1296
Federico I da Montefeltro 1296 1322
Papal control 1322 1324
Guido II da Montefeltro 1324 1360
Galasso da Montefeltro 1324 1360
Nolfo da Montefeltro c. 1290 1324 1364
Federico II da Montefeltro[4]   1364–1370? 1370? Teodora Gonzaga
Antonio II da Montefeltro[4] 1348 1363–1404 29 April 1404 Agnesina dei Prefetti di Vico
Guidantonio da Montefeltro[4] 1377 1403–1443 February 1443 Ringarda Malatesta; Caterina Colonna
Oddantonio da Montefeltro[4]
created Duke
1428 1443–1444 22 July 1444 Isotta d'Este
Federico III da Montefeltro[4][5] 7 June 1422 1444–1482 10 September 1482 Gentile Brancaleoni; Battista Sforza
Guidobaldo da Montefeltro[4][5] 17 January 1472 1482–1502 10 April 1508 Elisabetta Gonzaga
Cesare Borgia[6] 13 September 1475 1502–1503   Charlotte of Albret, Lady of Châlus
Guidobaldo da Montefeltro[4][5] 17 January 1472 1503–1508 10 April 1508 Elisabetta Gonzaga
Francesco Maria I della Rovere[4][5][7][8] 22 March 1490 1508–1516 20 October 1538 Eleonora Gonzaga
Lorenzo II de' Medici[9] 12 September 1492 1516–1519 4 May 1519 Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne
Francesco Maria I della Rovere[4][5][7][8] 22 March 1490 1521–1538 20 October 1538 Eleonora Gonzaga
Guidobaldo II della Rovere[4][5][7][8] 2 April 1514 1538–1574 28 September 1574 Giulia da Varano; Vittoria Farnese
Francesco Maria II della Rovere[4][5][7][8] 20 February 1549 1574–1621 23 April 1631 Lucrezia d'Este; Livia della Rovere
Federico Ubaldo della Rovere[4][5][8] 16 May 1605 1621–1623 28 June 1623 Claudia de' Medici
Francesco Maria II della Rovere[4][5][8] 20 February 1549 1623–1625 23 April 1631 Livia della Rovere

See also