Urbino is di-wine. In the heart of organic farming, bike trails through the vineyards and art

di Andrea Guolo

Cycle tourism itineraries with dedicated apps, horseback riding in the lands that belonged to the Raffaello Sanzio’s family and hospitality that focuses on well-being in the greenest city in Italy

In the most organic region of Italy, there is a city that can claim the title of Italian capital of organic agriculture and this city is Urbino. In Raffaello Sanzio’s homeland, respect for green practices has solid roots since the time of Gino Girolomoni, a native of Isola del Piano and considered the forerunner in its field, with the foundation in 1977 of the Alce Nero Cooperative. Fertile land, uncontaminated and today increasingly linked in its agricultural activity and in the tourist offer, to the very current concepts of healthy nutrition starting from respect for the earth. Consequently, when visiting Urbino and its surroundings, abandoning the car to choose an equally healthy mobility, and a lifestyle in line with that of the surrounding area, becomes an almost natural decision.

The municipal administration of Urbino focuses on the combination of sport, environment, well-being and art, launching and promoting three cycling itineraries that lend themselves to both more fit and occasional cyclists. The first tour, 11 km long, requires only a little determination and allows you to travel – with a moderate elevation gain – throughout the center of Urbino, reaching the Mausoleum of the Dukes. The second, much more hard (125 km for a total of 2 thousand meters in altitude), reviews all the main villages, offering opportunities to visit natural wonders such as the Gola del Furlo, a passage to Acqualagna (capital of the white truffle) and even the opportunity to shop for leather goods in Piero Guidi’s factory store. For the tireless cycling there is the third solution: Urbino and the 14 Pievi, 148 km and over 3,400 meters in altitude, recommended in at least two days. These routes for electric bikes (but also accessible without a “push” for the more daring) have been uploaded to the tourist portal Vieni a Urbino and to avoid taking the wrong path there is also the support of an app, Komoot. The project was curated by Ag Eventi in collaboration with the Montefeltro Adventure association. The Councilor for Tourism of the Municipality of Urbino, Roberto Cioppi, says: “The primary goal is to have tourism all year round, investing in our strengths: art, universities and food and wine. We will focus mostly on organic contents”.


Tenuta Santi Giacomo e Filippo’s winery

There are three denominations in the province of Pesaro Urbino, all D.O.C. The youngest and smallest (27 hectares) is Pergola, with a production area limited to the upper Valle del Cesano area and with a blend that provides for the dominant presence of Aleatico: to be regulated, not less than 60% in the “Red” or “rosé”, not less than 85% in the Pergola Aleatico. Instead, the Colli Pesaresi denomination reaches 85 hectares in total, declined in the Trebbiano, Biancame and Spumante types. The predominant one is the Bianchello del Metauro, which has ancient history (it seems that the excessive consumption of this wine was among the causes of the defeat of the Carthaginians led by Asdrubale in the battle of Metauro against the Romans): they are 244 hectares cultivated and the disciplinary includes a minimum of 95% of Bianchello Biancame and a maximum of 5% of Malvasia Bianca Lunga. Nonetheless, Urbino is not an area of ​​pure whites, because the cultivation of Sangiovese thrives in the Montefeltro area (Romagna is nearby, Tuscany just beyond the Apennines …) from which interesting rosé experiments are also obtained. Finally, the presence of Montepulciano and international varieties is not negligible.

Marianna Bruscoli (photo by Andrea Guolo)


We have no doubts: the best place to visit for wines and hospitality is Tenuta Santi Giacomo e Filippo. Owned by the Bruscoli family, furniture entrepreneurs, this estate once belonged to the family of Raffaello Sanzio and is located not far from the center of Urbino. The dimensions are considerable: 420 hectares, all cultivated organically: in addition to wine (14 hectares of vineyards), extra virgin olive oil and much more are produced. Inside there is a resort structured as a widespread hotel with 33 rooms, a restaurant overlooking three lakes, a riding school (with thirty horses), a swimming pool and a spa. The cellar inside the estate is the only one present in the municipal area of ​​Urbino. Among the experiences offered are: guided tastings, three trekking routes along the 12 km of path on the estate, e-bike rental and horseback riding. Then there is the latest news: “We take our customers to discover the land thanks to the Agribus, a tractor that pulls an agricultural cart intended for the transport of passengers,” says Marianna Bruscoli, who has been at the helm of the estate since 2003. Future projects? “Continuing to improve is what matters most to us”.


Opening photo: view from above of the Santi Giacomo e Filippo Estate (credits: Gilberto Bertini)