On my way to Palazzo Donati in Mercatello sul Metauro, I stop at Sansepolcro. Located in southeastern Tuscany, I am immediately pleased with its Renaissance feel and welcoming locals.
Starting at the visitors’ center, I collect a few pamphlets and talk to the friendly staff before walking the short distance to the Civic Museum of Sansepolcro. It is housed in Palazzo della Residenza, which was constructed in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Although it’s a small museum, I find what some claim to be the best paintings in the world. Displayed through 10 halls, it is exceptional.
"The Resurrection," a fresco by Piero della Francesca, that writer Aldous Huxley named the world's greatest painting in 1925, is here and currently being restored. I watch as an expert conducts the painstaking work.
“Madonna Della Misericordia” is another of Piero della Francesca’s beautiful paintings featured in the museum along with masterpieces by Matteo di Giovanni, Raffaellino del Colle, Santi di Tito, and other notable artists.
After exploring the museum, I head for the palazzo where Piero della Francesca lived as a boy and later in life. Recognized as one of the most important painters of the Renaissance, he came from a prosperous merchant family.
Trained in mathematics, Piero's interest in the abstract study of perspective and his contemplative approach to his paintings are apparent in all his work. This perspective had little influence on his contemporaries but came to be recognized in the 20th century as a major contribution to the Italian Renaissance.
My next stop is the Cathedral of Sansepolcro.
Today, the cathedral looks much like it did in the 14th century, with three naves supported by Romanesque columns showing Gothic influence. The cathedral retains many beautiful works of art including “Il Volto Santo,” an unusual carved wooden crucifix made from a single walnut log between the 8th and 9th centuries.
I end my short stay by having lunch at a café in the town square before continuing on into Le Marche and new adventures. I can certainly recommend Sansepolcro as a lovely place to spend the morning or for a much longer stay. There are several other historic attractions to explore there and a whole community to enjoy.