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Italy during the Renaissance

Duchy of Urbino
Federico da Montefeltro, 1444-82
Guidobaldo I da Montefeltro, 1482-1508
Francesco Maria I della Rovere, 1508-16, 1521-38
Lorenzo di Piero de Medici, 1516-19
Guidobaldo II della Rovere, 1538-74

The family da Montefeltro (Montis feretri) are named after the rock 'Mons Feretrius' near Rimini, where they had acquired a castle. The Montefeltros advanced to imperial vicars. In 1226 Emperor Frederick II appointed them Count of Urbino. Pope Eugene IV elevated them to dukes of Urbino in 1443.
When the House of Montefeltro died out in 1508, the House of Della Rovere took over the Duchy of Urbino. In 1625/31 the duchy finally was absorbed by the Papal States.

Lordship of Pesaro
Costanzo I Sforza, 1473-83
Giovanni Sforza, 1489-1500, 1503-10

Location of Urbino and Pesaro on the map of Italy at 1499

Federico da Montefeltro, 1444-82 Duke of Urbino
Federico (III) da Montefeltro, born out of wedlock in 1422, received a humanistic education. He followed his younger half-brother, born in wedlock, Oddantonio, who was murdered in Urbino (1444) shortly after taking office in 1443. Federico was then proclaimed Duke of Urbino by the city council.
Federico was a very capable condottieri, first in the service of Francesco Sforza and Florence, then from 1451 for Naples. He enlarged the territory of Urbino at the expense of the House of Malatesta. Federico was famous for his military ingenuity and just rule in Urbino. His humanistic leadership made Urbino a center of the Italian Renaissance. When he served Della Rovere Pope Sixtus IV in 1474, the latter confirmed the ducal dignity and also appointed him gonfalonier of the church. Federico's daughter Giovanna married into the Della Rovere house, which later took over Urbino.

Cast lead medal 1468   by Clemente da Urbino.    Ø 87,2 mm.   Armand I 47; Kress 100 (94 mm).
BELLA·DEDIT   "Here is a second Caesar and a second Scipio of Rome, either that he gives the people
peace, or that he inflicts cruel wars on him"   -   Portrait in splendid armor with cloak and cap to the left.
On the breastplate a lapith fighting a centaur; above two Victorias.

ET·TVA·FATA·MOVENT·   "The cruel Mars and Venus which touches Jupiter, the Sovereign of the gods,
agree to give you the empire and rule your destiny"
"Le cruel Mars et Vénus qui touche à Jupiter, le Souverain des dieux, s'accordent pour te donner l'empire et
gouverner ta destinée" [Armand]

Three stars with the signs of the planets Mars (arrow), Jupiter and Venus.
In the middle:
Below: An eagle balances with outstretched wings a beam, which carries a globe between the symbols
of war and peace. Arched below: OPVS CLEME - NTIS VrBINATIS.

Mezza Lira? n. d. (after 1474)     Ø 28 mm.   CNI 13 500,1; RM[Morosini] III 11,1.
Obv.:   ✶ FEDERICVS:DVX:VRBINI·MONTIS·FEltrani·Q·COmes·  -  Back view with head to the left.
Rev.:   RE·GEneral·CAPItaneus·AC·Sanctae·ROmanea·ECclesiae·CONFALONier
Split coat of arms:
Bend stripes (Montefeltro), crowned eagle (imperial increase awarded in 1226?),
a pal with the insignia of the papal gonfaloniere (tiara with inful over crossed Petri keys).

Bronze casting of an embossed medal.     Ø 28 mm.   Armand III 164,i; Hill 317.
Obv.:   FEDERICVS:MONFELTRIVS:VRBINI:DVX·  -  Back view with head to the left.
Rev.:   NON MAI   on tape, below an ermine on a rock platform.
King Ferdinand I of Naples awarded Federico the Order of Ermine "Ordine dell'armellino" in 1474.

Cast bronze medal by Sperandio da Mantova.     Ø 89,5 mm.   Armand I 71,29; Hill 389; Scher 25.
Obv.:   ✿DiVi·FEderici·VRBini·DvCiS·MonTEfeltri·AC·DvRantis·CoMitis·REGii·CAPitanei·GEneralis·AC· Sannctea·ROmanae·ECCLesiae·CoNfalonerii·INVICTI   "Divine Frederick, Duke of Urbino, Count of
Montefeltro and Durante, Royal Captain-General and undefeated Gonfaloniere of the
Holy Roman Church"   -   Bust with hat to the left.

Rev.:   ·OPVS· - SPERANDEI·   "Work by Sperandio"
Federico on horseback, swinging a command baton and bent forward as if he were going into battle.
The titles show that the medal was created after 1474. "DIVI" could even refer to a posthumous edition, although in 1449 "DIVVS" was already used for Alfonso von Aragon during his lifetime.
Note the space-saving arrangement of letters in the legend on the obverse.

The picture painted by Piero della Francesca in the Uffizi in Florence also shows Federico in profile to the left: he had lost an eye and broken his nose in a tournament accident.

Guidobaldo I da Montefeltro, 1482-1508 Duke of Urbino
- son of Federico II da Montefeltro -
Guidobaldo, born in 1472, followed his father Federico after his death in 1482. He married Elisabetta, daughter of Federico Gonzaga, a very well educated woman who led the royal court splendidly. The couple remained childless. Therefore they adopted Francesco Maria I della Rovere, son of Guidobaldo's sister Giovanna, who had married into the house Della Rovere.
Guidobaldo was expelled from his duchy by Cesare Borgia in 1502. After the death of Cesare's father, Pope Alexander VI (1503) and the subsequent fall of the Borgia, Guidobaldo came back to Urbino.
Guidobaldo died at the age of 36. He was followed by his adopted son from the Della Rovere family.

Ducat n. d., Urbino.     Ø ca.22 mm.   CNI 13 501,1; RM III 12,1.
Obv.:   ·GVIDVS· - ·VBaldus·VRbini· - DVX·
Rev.:   Sanctea·Romanae·Ecclesiae·CAPitaneus·GENeralis·SVB·IVLio·II·PONtifice·MaXimo
In 1504 Guidobaldo became Gonfaloniere (standard-bearer) from Pope Julius II of the Della Rovere family.

Quattrino, Urbino.     Ø 20 mm, ca.1,11 g.   CNI 13 504,25; RM III 13,4.
Obv.:   +✴GVIDVS✴VBaldus✴VRBINI✴DVX✴   -   small bust to the left.
Rev.:   +✴✴FIDES✴✴SPES✴✴CARITAS✴✴   "Faith Hope Love"   -   arms of Urbino.
The coat of arms carries in the middle a 'pole' with the insignia of the gonfaloniere of the church.
The tiara and Petri key are placed here on two separate fields.

Quattrino, Urbino.     Ø 20 mm, 1,13 g.   CNI 13 505,34; RM III 13,5; Cavicchi 34.
Obv.:   +✴GIDVS✴VB✴VRB✴DVX✴   -   Bust to the left.
Rev.:   +FIDES✴ESPES✴ - CARITAS✴   -   Crowned coat of arms.
The quattrini shown here are made of copper (it. rame).
Quattrini rarely show a ruler.

Quattrino, Casteldurante.     Ø 19 mm, 1,05 g.   CNI 13 256,23; RM III 15,11.
Obv.:   GVIDVS✶VB✶VRBINI✶DUX   -   Bust to the left. With inner circle.
Rev.:  ✶MONTIS✶FE✶AC✶DVRANT✶CO   "Count of Montefeltro and Durante"  -  crowned coat of arms.
The full title, according to Ravegnani Morosini:
SIGNORI di Gubbio, di Fano, di Pesaro, di Senigallia e di Sori,
CONTI di Casteldurante, di Fossombrone, di Massa Trabaria, di Mercatello, di Montefeltro e di Sant'Angelo,
DUCHI di Urbino e di Camerino.

Quattrino, Fossombrone.     Ø 17-19 mm, 0,89 g.   CNI 13 343,8; RM III 16,15.
Obv.:   GVIDVS✶VB✶VRB✶DVX✶   -   large childlike head to the left
Rev.:   +✶DE✶FOROSE - MPRONIO✶✶   "from Fossombrone"   -   crowned six-part coat of arms.
The mints in Casteldurante and Fossombrone operated only in the time of Guidobaldo I.

Francesco Maria I della Rovere 1508-16, 1521-38 Duke of Urbino
- Adopted son of Guidobaldo I da Montefeltro - nephew of Pope Julius II -
Francesco, born in 1490, followed Guidobaldo, the childless last duke of the Montefeltro family.
His belligerent uncle Pope Julius II from the house of Della Rovere appointed him 'Capitano generale della Chiesa' in 1509, commander in chief of all troops in the Papal States. Pope Julius died in 1513. The subsequent Medici Pope Leo X excommunicated Francesco in 1516 and had him expelled from Urbino. After the death of Leo X in 1521, Francesco was able to return to Urbino. Then he fought as a condottiere for Venice. He was poisoned in 1538.

Ducato, n. d. (1508-13)     Ø ca.22 mm, 3,42 g.   CNI 13 508,13; RM I 83,2; Friedb.1198.
Obv.:   ✶FRANciscus·MAria·VRBIni·DVX·✶   -   helmeted bust to the left.
Rev.:   ··Sanctea·Romanae·Ecclesiae·CAPitaneus·GENeralis·SVB·IVLio·II·PONtifice·MaXimo
Crowned eagle holds the coat of arms of Della Rovere.

Ducato, n. d.     Ø ca.22 mm, 3,44 g.   CNI 13 507,3; RM I 84,3; Friedb.1197.
Obv.:   ·FRANCiscus·· - ·MAria·VRBINI·DVX·   -   long-haired bust to the right.
Rev.:   ·Sanctea·Romanae·Ecclesiae·CAPitaneus·GENeralis·SVB·IVLio·II·PONtifice·MaXimo·
Crowned eagle holds the Rovere coat of arms: oak with roots, leaves and acorns.

Bronze medal 1538 on his death.     Ø 40,3 mm, 37,1 g.   Armand II 119,60 (37 mm).
Obv.:   FRANCISCVS MARIA DVX METAVRES  -  Bust left, bearded, bareheaded in ancient armor.
Personification of fame flies right carrying two trumpets.

Lorenzo di Piero de Medici, 1516-19
- Nephew of Pope Leo X -
Lorenzo di Piero (di Piero = son of Piero), born in 1492, a grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent (†1492), became the cardinal depository of his uncle, Pope Leo X (1515-19). As the nephew and favorite of the new Pope, he expelled Francesco Maria I della Rovere (nephew and favorite of the previous Pope) from Urbino in 1516. Lorenzo died in 1519, but it was only after the death of Leo X in 1521 that Francesco Maria was able to return to Urbino.

Ducato.     Ø 22,5 mm, 3,42 g.   CNI XIII 518,1; RM II 315,1.
Specimen in Coin Cabinet, Kunsthistorische Museum, Vienna.

Obv.:   LAV·MEDICES·DVX·VRBINI·   -   Bust to the left.
Rev.:   LEONIS·X·PATRVI·BENEFICIO   -   "with permission from Leo X"   -   Medici-arms.
Only a few pieces of this ducat were minted on the occasion of the occupation of Urbino by Lorenzo de Medici. Pope Leo X apparently approved this. CNI only knows the copy in Vienna.
Ravegnani Morosini writes:
Questa moneta fu probabilmente battuta, in pochissimi esemplari, all'atto dell'occupazione degli stati del Montefeltro da parte del duca Lorenzo de Medici che vi veniva insediato, nel 1516, da papa Leone X il quale ne aveva spogliato Francesco Maria I Della Rovere, a sua volta investito del feudo dal precedente papa Giulio II. Che si tratti di una emissione eccezionale lo conferma il fatto che non si trova menzione di battitura nel bando emesso da Lorenzo, tramite il viceduca conte Roberto Boschetti, per indire la coniazione di nuove monete, indicate tutte quali quattrini (a): d'altra parte non si può pensare che un ducato potesse essere "moneta usitata per publica utilità de tutto il Suo Stato & Subditi", come si trova scritto nel bando citato, né che fosse stato battuto successivamente in quanta la leggenda dei R., che suona riconoscenza per la concessione dello zio Leone X, presuppone un'emissione contemporanea o immediatamente successiva all'investitura. Il C.N.I. cita l'esemplare conservato al Museo di Vienna.

Bronze cast n. d. (19th century ?), unsigned.     Ø 79 mm.
Obv.:   Bust almost from the front, the head turned to the left.
Rev.:   Surrounded by a laurel wreath :  LAV / RENTIVS / MEDICES / VRBINI ETC / DVX

The Tomb of Lorenzo di Piero in the New Sacristy of the Medici Chapel of San Lorenzo, Florence, was designed by Michelangelo from 1524 with a statue of Lorenzo di Piero as "Penseroso" (contemplative) and the allegories of the female Dawn and the male Dusk as symbols of inescapable time. In the same room: opposite the tomb of Giuliano II and in between that of Lorenzo il Magnifico and his brother.

Guidobaldo II della Rovere, 1538-74 Duke of Urbino
- Son of Francesco Maria I della Rovere -
Guidobaldo II, born in 1514, followed his father in the Duchy of Urbino. He married Giulia da Verano in 1530 and was subsequently excommunicated by Pope Paul III, who feared an increase of della Rovere's power. His second wife was Vittoria Farnese, daughter of Duke Pier Luigi Farnese of Parma, the son of the Pope, who had excommunicated him. Their son Francesco Maria II della Rovere became the last Duke of Urbino. When he died in 1631 without a male heir, Urbino fell to the Papal States.

Ducato.     Ø ca.18 mm, 3,32 g.   CNI 13 522,16; RM I 87,5.
Obv.:   GVI· - VBAL·   -   bärtiger Kopf nach rechts.
Rev.:   ·VRBINI·DVX·IIII   "vierte Herzog von Urbino"     im Feld: ·S· / R·E·C / GE
expanded: Sanctea Romanae Ecclesiae Capitaneus GEneralis.

Copper pattern: 18 grossi.     Ø ca.41 mm, 19,82 g.   CNI 13 522,23; RM I 89,11.
Obv.:   ·GVIDVS VBALDVS·II·VRBINI·DVX·IIII·   -   bearded bust to the right.
Rev.:   MONETA·DA·GROSSI·XVIII·LEGHE·X·  -  crowned eagle holds nine-sided Rovere coat of arms.
The legend on the reverse states for the corresponding thaler-like silver coin:
Value (18 grossi) and fineness (10 ounces of fine silver in the pound [12 ounces] = 10/12 = 833/1000).

Testone o medaglia.     Ø ca.29 mm, 9,78 g.   vgl.: CNI 13 523,29; RM I 90,14.
Obv.:   ·GVIDVSVBAL·II·VRBINI·DVX·IIII   -   bearded head to the right.
Rev.:   ·AQVIlo· - ·FAVOnius· - ·AVSTralis· - ·EVRrus·   for the four cardinal directions N, W, S, E.
Ground plan of the fortress within which:
"Rebuilders [of the fortress of] Senigallia"
The pieces from CNI & RM bears the ligated initials BC of the die cutter under the bust.
The fortress is the Rocca Roveresca di Senigalli, which was built under his grandfather in 1480 and is now a museum.

Prova di testone n. d. by Bartolomeo Campi.     AE, Ø 32 mm, 22,03 g.   CNI 30var; RM I 91,15.
Obv.:   ·GVIDVS VBALDVS·II·VRBINI·DVX·IIII  -  bärtiger Kopf r., ligierte Initialen BC im Nacken.
Ground plan of the fortress within which: REÆDIF / ICATOR / SENOG / ALLIE·

Stuck bronze medal n. d. (about 1546) by B. Campi.
Ø 33,1 mm, 26,40 g.   CNI XIII c. 524,31; Attwood 740 (cast); Börner 732.
Obv.:   ·GVIDVS VBALDVS·II·VRBINI·DVX·IIII   -   bearded head to the right, ligated signature BC.
Rev.:   ·GENERAlis· - EXERCItus· - SANCtea·ROmanae· - ECCLESiae·
"General of the armies of the Holy Roman Church"   -   Ground plan of the fortress within which:
CVI·NO / VA·SVR / GIT·SE / NOGAL   "? new rise Senigallia"

Lordship of Pesaro
Costanzo I Sforza, 1473-83
Giovanni Sforza, 1489-1500, 1503-10
Pesaro came under the rule of the house of Malatesta in the 13th century. The condottiere Alessandro Sforza (brother of Francesco I Sforza, since 1450 Duke of Milan) bought the lordship of Pesaro from the Malatesta in 1445. The time of the Sforza in Pesaro (1445-1512) was followed by the time of the house of Della Rovere in 1513, during which Pesaro came to the Duchy of Urbino becoming its capital.

Costanzo I Sforza, 1473-83
- Nephew of Francesco I Sforza -
Condottiero Costanzo, born in 1447, inherited the lordship of Pesaro from his father Alessandro Sforza after his death in 1473. His marriage to Camilla d'Aragona was childless. He was succeeded by his premarital son Giovanni Sforza.

Pattern 1/2 Lira in copper.    Ø 30 mm, 11,21 g.   CNI XIII 430,2; RM III 280,2; Hill(1930) 299e.
On the Castello (fortress) at the rocca di Pesaro. The foundation stone was laid in 1474 [RM].

Obv.:   CONSTANTIVS SFortia DE ARAGOnia PISAVri Dominus   -   Armored bust to the left.
Rev.:  SALVTI ET MEMORIAE CONDIDIT   "Create welfare and memory"
The Castello (castle) of Pesaro as it should look at first.
Costanzo also lists the maternal surname of his wife Camilla d'Aragon in his title,
in order to bring him near a mighty house.
It is assumed that the construction of the Castello was decided during a visit by emperor Frederick III. Therefore the Castello is also called "Villa Imperiale". Francesco Maria I Della Rovere (see above) expanded in 1521 the Castello into an elegant "Villa di Delizia" with garden. See a front view of the Villa Imperiale from 1898 (Wikipedia). Today the villa is used for social events.

Cast bronze medal 1474 by Gianfrancesco Enzola, Parma.   Ø 78,6 mm.  Armand I 45,8; Hill(1930)291.
On completion of the fortification work at the Roman city bridge to Pesaro.

Obv.:   CONSTANTIVS·SFORTIA·DE·ARAGONIA·DIvi·ALEXANdri·SFORtiae·FILius·PISAVRENSis· PRINCEPS·AETATIS·ANno XXVII·   -   Armored bust of the 27-year-old to the left.
Rev.:  SYDVS MARTIVM   "Star belonging to Mars (Planet Mars)"   -   Armed horsemen pulls in serpentines up to the Castello over a bridge reinforced by two high towers.
Costanzo on horseback has just passed the bridge, a lance bearer and a squire in front of him.
At one of the bridge towers: CO · SF · / PISA / VRI · / D ·. Under the horse: MCCCCLXXIIII.
At the bottom: IOannes FRANciscus PARMENSIS OPUS.
The given age matches the date of 1474. The Foglia Bridge shown, built at the time of the Roman
Emperor Trajan, takes up the Via Flaminia. The fort is the castello or "Villa Imperiale".

The obverse of the 1474 medal was coupled with two new reverse sides in 1475:
a. showing the Castello and b. showing a rider.

Bronze medal 1475 by Gianfrancesco Enzola, Parma.    Ø ca.80 mm.
Armand I 45,9; Hill(1930)294; Kress 97; Friedl. 118,7

Obv.:   exactly as before.
M CCCC L XXXV   "Impregnable Castle of Costanzo for the general safety of Pesaros, 1475"
The Castello of Pesaro, warriors on the towers, sea in the background.
Below engraved: IOannes FRanciscus PARMENsis

Münzkabinett der Statlichen Museen zu Berlin
Touch the illustration with the cursor in order to see the reverse.
Bronze medal 1475 by Gianfrancesco Enzola, Parma.   Ø 81 mm, 161,88 g.
Armand I 45,10; Hill(1930)292a; Kress 95 (lead cast); Friedlaender 118,8; Börner 100.
Specimen in the coincabinet from Statliche Museen zu Berlin

Obv.:   exactly like both previous medals.
Rider in tournament armor with helmet, shield and lance gallops to the left.
Sforza dragon with ring as a crest. A dog under the horse.
In the background blooming landscape with the Castello at the top left.
Signature below: ·IOannes·FRanciscus·PARMENsis

Medal 1475 by Gianfrancesco Enzola.    Ø 76 mm, 175 g.  Armand I 45,11; Hill(1930)293; Kress 96.
Armored bust of Alexandro, Cosnanzo's father, to the left.

Costanzo married Camilla Sforza of Aragon in 1475.
Camilla d'Aragon (daughter of Giovanni Francesco Mariano, Duke of Sessa, and Eleonora d'Aragona)
was after Costanzo's death the regent for her stepson Giovanni Sforza from 1483 to 1489.

Bronze medal n. d. (1483-89) by Sperandio.    Ø 82 mm.
Armand I 74,43; Hill(1930)399; Kress 130; Börner 146.

Bust half to the left.
Rev.:  ·SIC·ITVR·AD ASTRA·  ""thus one journeys to the stars"(Virgil)
Female figure sits on the back of a unicorn and beef. She holds a staff and around her arm
is a snake with a dragon's head. Below: OPVS·SPERANDEI·.

Giovanni Sforza, 1489-1500, 1503-10
- son of Costanzo I Sforza -
Giovanni (born 1466) inherited the lordship of Pesaro after the death of his father Costanzo in 1483. His stepmother took over the reign until 1489. In the same year he married Maddalena Gonzaga, daughter of Federico I Gonzaga, Margrave of Mantua. After her untimely death in 1493 he married Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI. This marriage was divorced in 1497 at the instigation of father Alexander and brother Cesare. Cesare Borgia's campaigns of conquest through Romagne forced Giovanni to leave Pesaro in 1500. He could not return until 1503, when the Borgias were ousted. In his third marriage, he had a son, who only survived him for two years. Finally, in 1513, the lordship of Pesaro was incorporated into the neighboring duchy of Urbino.

Cast bronze medal 1503 by unknown.    Ø 73,8 mm, 217,06 g.   Armand II 117,49; Hill 302.
On his return to Pesaro in 1503.

Bust to the right, with long hair and short beard, wearing plate armour over mail.
Rev.:   PATRIA / RECEPTA   "home received (again)"   -   a broken yoke.

Prova di testone n. d. (1504)    Ø 28 mm, 9,45 g.   CNI -; RM III 282,3 (dieses Stück).
Obv.:  ·IOannes·SFortia·CONSTANTII·SFortia·Filius·PISAVRI·7·C·  -  Bust to the right.
Rev.:   PATRIA / RECEPTA   "home received (again)"   -   a broken yoke.
The issue should have taken place in 1504, when Pope Julius II officially consecrated
the restoration with a bull dated 23 April. [RM III p.281]

Soldo n. d.    Copper, Ø 18 mm, 1,16 g.   CNI XIII 455,98-116; RM III 284,9.
Obv.:   *IOANNES·SFORTIA·PISAVRI·DOMinus   -   Bust right.
Rev.:   ·PV / BLICAE· / COMMO / DITA / TI·   "for the common good and usefulness".
L'epigrafe del R. richiama il bando pubblicato il 21 aprile 1498 per informare i cittadini che il principe, viste "le monete che
se usano in questa Cità de Pesaro essere grosse per spendere a minuto ... ha novamente facto fare, & batere denari piccoli"
che si possano spendere e ricevere "per el bene, & utile universale (PUBLICAE COMMODITATI)" [RM III p.283]

Ref.:   [Quotations with indication of volume, page and number e.g.  III 87,6 = vol.3 p.87 no.6]
Corpus Nummorum Italicorum [CNI]: Urbino & Pesaro in vol.XIII   -   CNI-Index
Ravegnani Morosini, Mario [RM]: Signorie e principati - monete italiane con ritratto, 1450-1796, 1984.
    Montefeltro: vol.III, p.7-16.   Della Rovere: vol.I, p.79 ff.   Medici in Urbino: vol.II, p.313-315.
• Armand, Alfred :  Les Médailleurs Italiens des quinzième et sezième siècles. 3 vol. Paris 1883-87 & online
• Hill, G. F. :  A Corpus of the Italian Medals of the Renaissance before Cellini. 2 vol. London 1930
• Kress :  Renaissance Medals from the Samuel H. Kress Coll. at the Nat. Gallery of Art. 1967 & online
• Friedlaender, J. :  Die Italienischen Schaumünzen des 15. Jh. (1430-1530). Berlin 1882 & online

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