DISCOVER ITALY: ANCONA
Ancona, Capital of the Marches Region, lies on the promontory of Monte Conero directly facing the sea. Founded by the Greeks, the city experienced remarkable development when the Emperor Hadrian extended the then-small port, long of great strategic importance for the traffic across the Adriatic.
Split into two parts – the historic center on Monte Guasco and the modern part on the coast – Ancona is a fascinating city. Among its principal monuments are the Cathedral of San Ciriaco, with its white and rose marble façade. The Cathedral dominates the city from the heights of Guasco Hill, where the city’s Acropolis was built.
Be sure to see the Archaeological Museum of The Marches, preserving relics from the Iron Age and from the civilizations that peopled the Adriatic coast; as well as the 11th-Century Church of Santa Maria della Piazza, originally in the Romanesque; Trajan’s Arch, built in the year 115 by Apollodoro da Damasco; and the Mole Vanvitelliana, a military construction designed by Luigi Vanvitelli in the 18th Century. The Roman Amphitheatre (1st Century A.D.) is a splendid Roman remnant, with thermal baths in its annex; the baths feature breathtaking mosaics with various epigraphs.
Much of the Province of Ancona composes part of the Conero Regional Park, characterized by sprawling evergreen woods and Mediterranean maquis, by cliffs jutting out high above the sea, beaches accessible on via water, and a countryside still pristine but rich in the local fruits of the land – including lavendar, honey, olive oil and citrus. Certain spots within the Park should be mentioned, particularly Portonovo, evocative and highly-frequented attraction, for its forests in the vicinity of the beaches, and for its ancient monuments.