The original leather binding reproduced for our Jewel of Urbino series was made around the turn of the 19th century in the city of Urbino, the picturesque capital of the Marche region of Italy. It contained a religious treatise translated from French into Italian by Princess Maria Anna Matilde, whose husband was the lord of the city.

In the late 15th century during the rule of Federico da Montefeltro, who earned himself the moniker “the Light of Italy” for his support of arts and sciences, Urbino blossomed as a hub of cultural and commercial activity. Perched idyllically on a hillside, its ancient city wall and medieval buildings are still standing and the original winding cobbled streets are largely intact. Urbino is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site where one can appreciate the elegance and glory of Renaissance architecture.

Our Duomo design (above) was inspired by Urbino’s cathedral – duomo meaning “cathedral church” in Italian. After suffering serious damage in the wake of a powerful earthquake in 1789, the structure was rebuilt in a Neoclassical fashion, identifiable by its clean lines and overall restraint of design. One can observe a similar quality in the ornamental scroll of this book cover, where balance is achieved between the patterned stamping and understated opulence of the embossed gilt.

The city of Urbino is framed by the scenic setting of the vineyards and olive groves of its two river valleys. Metauro is the name of the river flowing through this Marche region. This cover design is marked by a sense of balance between the lavishly embossed gilt and the simple pattern created with repeated use of a single stamp, set against a river-blue background.

The ideals cultivated during the Renaissance continue to have a strong influence on Western society. It is our honour to dedicate the Jewel of Urbino series to a city that provided such a nourishing environment for the cultural regeneration of Europe.

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About Paperblanks: 25 years ago, we created Paperblanks to help keep book heritage alive and vital in our modern age, and to offer an inspiring space for people to express themselves. Thanks for joining us on this journey! For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at


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