Ancona, capital city of Marche region, is situated on italy’s Adriatic shore and, beside its off-track location, it has many ways you can reach it: boats arrive here from Greece, Croatia and other Italian cities, the rail road to and from Milan was just renovated and many highways pass from here. There are almost no excuses to miss this city, surely not one of the most beautiful or know location but as fascinating as it gets. Ancona is one the few cities in Central Italy that was founded by the Greeks (in the Italian South, instead, many cities were part of the so called “Magna Grecia”) as an outpost of Syracusa in Sicily. Its harbour gain huge importance throughout the years and the Roman Trajan’s Arch is there to remind the visitors exactly of this.
If you want to discover more about the city’s rich history your first stop must be the Museo della Citta, located in Piazza Plebiscito. It is free to visit, and you can learn a great deal of Ancona’s past, form the Roman times to the 1960s. Once you are out of it there are plenty of options to continue your visit: you can take a visit to the Duomo, a cathedral built in the VI century with a mix of Romanic and Byzantine style, or you can visit the Lazzaretto, a peculiar five-sides building built on artificial island in the port of Ancona in the firs decades of 1700s. The building was multifunctional: it was the home of people with contagious disease as well as a fortification to defend the port, a deposit for goods and a protection from the waves. Now you can find expositions and it is used to host cultural events.
The harbour, originally protected only by the elbow-shaped promontory from which the city takes its name (Greek angkon, “elbow”), has modern installations built since World War II, including a petroleum refinery. Although Ancona’s importance as a port has diminished, it is a busy market centre, with ships plying between Italian and Croatian ports on the Adriatic. Probably, though, if you want to enjoy Ancona’s highlight you’d have to head up-hill to the Cathedral of San Ciriaco. The church is supposed to occupy the site of a Roman temple of Venus and incorporates the remains of a basilica of the 5th–6th century. Two marble lions – one grappling a lamb, the other a serpent – support its Gothic porch. You won’t find unforgettable art pieces inside but most definitely a sense old times. It's free to enter, and free to admire the view from the piazza outside.
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