Marche - Places to visit - Ancona
The administrative centre of the region lies on the lowest northern slopes of M. Conero, which slope down to the sea, forming a wide natural bay.
The town is of Greek origin; its name comes from the Greek word ncon' (elbow), from the shape of the bay. It passed under Roman influence in the 3rd century BC. and became increasingly important, particularly under the Emperor Trajan, who made it one of the biggest harbours in the Mediterranean.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was ruled by the Byzantines and Lombards, then by the Church, although it succeeded in maintaining a degree of autonomy for centuries.
From the 12th to 16 th centuries, Ancona went through a troubled period, being the scene of struggles between Emperors, Popes and local overlords. In the 13th century, the town expanded within a circle of walls surrounding the Astagno hill, its real development began in the 15th century, when it started to spread along the coast.
In 1532 the town lost its autonomy and was finally annexed to the Papal States, whose fortunes it shared until 1860, when it became part of the Kingdom of Italy. During World War II it was heavily bombarded and in 1972 an earthquake damaged the ancient city centre and most of the monuments.
The monuments include: Trajan's Arch (2nd century AD.), Duomo of St. Ciriaco on mt. Guasco (11th century, the Cathedral Romanesque, on the site of an early Christian building), Church of S. Maria della Piazza (12th century, Romanesque), Loggia dei Mercanti (15th century), San Francesco delle Scale (14th century, with a beautiful Gothic-Venetian portal, repaired after the earthquake), Palazzo del Senato (13th-15th century), Palazzo del Governo (14th century).
The economy of the town is based on the services sector and on a busy industrial sector: shipyards, metallurgicals and engineering, chemicals and food manufacturing. Port activities, fishing and tourism are also of note.
Events: Trade Fair (June), International Fishing Exhibition (June), Nautical Exhibition of the Adriatic Sea, Biennal Exhibition of Satirical Cartoons, Wind Instrument Contest (Ancona Prize).
Famous People: Cinzio Benincasa (scholar, 1450-1507), Benvenuto Stracca (lawyer, 1509-1578), Andrea Lilli (artist, 1555-1610), Luigi Albertini (journalist and politician 1871-1941).
Cultural Institutions: State Archives, Diocesan Museum (Sarcophagus of Gorgonio, 4th century), National Museum of the Marches (archeological remains from the Iron Age and objects dating back to Roman times), Podesti Art Gallery (including paintings by Tiziano, Andrea del Sarto, L. Lotto, Guercino), University.
In the Province: Senigallia (seaside resort), Falconara Marittima (industrial centre), Fabriano (paper industry, Paper and Watermark Museum), Iesi (silk manufacturing, interesting environment), Chiaravalle (Gothic-Cistercian Abbey, 12th century), Castelfidardo (manufacture of musical instruments).