Cantiano is a little town in Le Marche, situated in the Appennine Mountains, 40 km south of Raffaello Sanzio’s birthplace, Urbino. The town sits on the base of a deep cut valley with towering hills all around and the little hamlet of Il Borgo clings to the side of Monte Petrano.
The views across the Sierra Burano are gorgeous, with Monte Catria, crowned with a massive iron cross, being one of the stand out features of the landscape. The countryside is littered with ancient bridges, mysterious tunnels and Romanesque churches.
The painting focuses on the river with a row of brightly coloured houses opposite, behind this there is one of the oldest streets in Cantiano, said to date back to the Medieval period. This leads into the large piazza, with the ochre clocktower building and the church of San Nicolo and a little further down the road the Collegiate di San Giovanni Battista.
The road leaves town and gradually climbs through the rugged, hills until you come to Palcano, with the collection of houses, Il Borgo is higher up the hill. Here the slopes are wooded, scrubland, there is the occassional olive grove and field but very little cultivated land at this height.
For the sky I settled on the gorgeous sunset, oranges and pinks we saw during out visit, It was slightly cloudy and just as the sun headed towards the horizon the sky was lit up.
The now familiar tree motif is one inspired by Raphaello, it takes its shape from the way the local boy painted foliage on his trees. These were often tall trunked trees with roughly hinted, stylised leaves. This one uses the tree at the centre of a “Knights Dream” as the starting point.