Divine Light

The Ducal Star has illuminated noble homes for 500 years

An illustration of the Ducal Star.

The Ducal Star, a glass lampshade based on a mathematical design that dates back to the 1400s, is a symbol of Urbino’s Renaissance.

The shape of this star is considered mathematically perfect and was first described in De Divina Proportione (About the Divine Proportions), a book by mathematician Luca Pacioli, illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci, which dates to around 1497. Made of blown glass and brass, the lamp adorned the noble homes of Urbino.

Nowadays, the method of making the shades may be the same as that used by 15th-century craftsmen, but the lamps can be found everywhere, such as university buildings, the windows of Raffaello Degusteria on Via Bramante, and above the tables of the restaurant Vecchia Urbino on Via dei Vasari.

In fact, you can buy one of these lamps for your own noble home, in a shop called Bottega d’Arte Nevio Sorini at 107 Via Mazzini, where they are handmade by Vittoria Gulini. A medium-size shade costs 160 euros, and Gulini will pack the lamp so you can carry it home without worry.

This article is from Urbino Now magazine’s Go Native section, a collection of tips and info to help you feel like a local. Please view more magazine articles or order a complete printed copy of Urbino Now.