Fossombrone, the ancient Roman “FORUM SEMPRONII”, is a Town to live and visit: its many shops along the Corso (unique case in Marche featuring a double portico), the many high-quality restaurants, the churches, the museums, the historic buildings, the extraordinary and unspoiled environment (see canyon of Giant’s kettles), the charm of the Bridge of Concord which evokes colours and emotions at sunset...

In Fossombrone it can be relived the past time of our Country: from the Roman City (the Archaeological Park of Forum Sempronii and the Archaeological Museum), to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (the ancient Malatestian Fortress which was strengthen by Federico da Montefeltro and its Upper Court, the many noble palaces in the old town centre, the wonderful baroque Church of St. Filippo), to the 20th century (characterized by the Cesarini’s Painting Collection, a House Museum rich in artworks among which is the unique collection of paintings and engravings by the local artist Anselmo Bucci), to the “Augusto Vernarecci” Art Gallery: a place displaying masterpieces by renowned painters such as Francesco Guerrieri (another artist from Fossombrone), Gaetano Lapis, Barocci, Podesti, etc.

In the heart of the Upper Court, formerly the seat of the Ducal Palace, whose rooms are today home to the Art Gallery and the Archaeological Museum, GUIDUBALDO DA MONTEFELTRO and ELISABETTA GONZAGA experienced their great love story.
In 1489, Elisabetta, who was a member of the noble House of Gonzaga in Mantua, got married to Guidubaldo, who was in turn the young Duke of Montefeltro, ergo forging a crucial relationship between the two powerful Renaissance families. What might have been just an insipid economic deal, that of Elisabetta and Guidubaldo was indeed love at first sight. Their marriage turned out to be an indissoluble union, an exclusive bond admired by all as well as sung by poets of their time, yet still not devoid of a tragic and bitter note which made their love story strikingly heart-wrenching.
Even though at the time they got acquainted Guidubaldo was a handsome young guy as well as gifted with all gallantry virtues, his gentleness and some physical frailty were hiding a merciless disease that after having made him gradually disabled, led him to death at just 35 years of age. Elisabetta actually loved him even more, perhaps just by virtue of his wounded charm, foreseeing that their time together was running out.

In the splendid setting of the court and surrounded by artists, intellectuals and poets, these two figures stood out as perfect models of the Renaissance ideal depicted by Baldassare Castiglione in his famous work “The book of the Courtier”.
Even when forced to flee without money and stuff taking refuge in Venice to survive the betrayal and the invasion of the duchy contrived by the Valentino, the couple was able to prove the power of their love. The Pope, Alexander VI, dug his heels in the dissolution of their marriage from which no children were born. It would have been easier, then, to legitimate the usurpation of Urbino and of the Montefeltro area. Elisabetta flat out refused to do it, bravely standing up to the Pope claiming that “She preferred to keep Guidubaldo as a brother to reject him as a husband”. Such words were soon spread like wildfire throughout the
Italian courts, arousing admiration and astonishment from all quarters.
After the storm they returned to Fossombrone, when on 11 April 1508 Guidubaldo had to say the last goodbye to his beloved Elisabetta. Hence, she withdrew herself to dwell in a room behind close shutters for eight days, sitting on a small mattress, eating nothing and using only the light of a candle set on the floor.

Though Elisabetta was still young, she never wanted to get married again so it was rumoured that the jewelled scorpion pendant on her forehead, symbol of coldness, was made to discourage her many admirers. Fossombrone, town of love and beauty, pays tribute to this courtly love story with a guided tour to the places of “Love in the time of Guidubaldo and Elisabetta”
on the occasion of the International Museum Day.