An important Adriatic port city, Ancona’s main draw may be the access it offers to other places, but that does not mean you cannot enjoy a very pleasant day or two here. The town has an intriguing history, a few interesting sights, and a pedestrian-friendly city centre.
Ancona's 12th-century Duomo, the Cathedral of San Ciriaco, on the Guasco hill, is the town's most significant building and a wonderful spot to look out at the Adriatic Ocean. Two lions flank the imposing entrance of the cathedral, a graceful Romanesque building constructed in a Greek cruciform shape with white stone from Mount Conero and restored in the 13th century. Inside are ten columns believed to have belonged to the Temple of Venus, which originally stood on the site, as well as a wealth of sculptures, screens, and artworks.
Located in Palazzo Bosdari, Ancona's Pinacoteca Comunale
gathers together more than 100 works created by Marche and Veneto artists from the 14th to the 19th century. These include masters such as Titian and Andrea del Sarto. The top floor of the museum is dedicated to the Gallery of Modern Art, which houses a significant number of works by the late Francesco Podesti and a range of other contemporary Italian artists.
Arch of Trajan
Towering above visitors’ heads, at 18 metres high, the Arch of Trajan
has dominated Ancona’s cityscape since it was constructed from marble in 114 AD. Built by the Emperor Trajan on top of the harbor wall, it is considered to be one of the most significant and well-preserved Roman monuments in the region. Despite the disappearance of most of the bronze features that used to adorn it, the Arch of Trajan remains an impressive sight.
Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, the Lazzaretto was built in 1732 as a quarantine facility that extended over an area of some 20,000 square metres. The pentagonal structure served its purpose as a building for protecting military authorities from disease, but it has since been used as a barracks and a military hospital. The facility is currently used to house various cultural exhibits
in the city.
Parco del Cardeto
Just outside the city of Ancona is a stunning park on the hills overlooking the harbour and the sapphire-blue Adriatic. With 30 hectares of green areas, panoramic cliff-top viewing spots, and archaeological attractions, the Parco del Cardeto
is a great place to escape from the bustle of the port city. Artefacts uncovered testify to the legacy of a range of civilisations and traditions, including Picene, Hellenistic, Roman, Catholic, Jewish, Orthodox, and Protestant. The park is still under development, and there are plans to extend it from the port via a mechanised uphill route to the duomo, incorporating Colle Guasco and Colle Cappucini, and terminating on Colle Cardeto.
Mount Conero & Beaches
The Conero peninsula, is only about a 20-minute drive southeast of Ancona, but it’s a world away from the gritty port city. A beautiful coastline links a series of stunning beach resorts, including Sirolo, Numana, the seemingly endless Marcelli, and Portonovo, creating the heavenly Conero Riviera. And if you prefer the craggy world of mountains to beaches, the coastline rings the Natural Park of Mount Conero, and the mountain itself.