Ancona, Province of Ancona, Marche region, Italy

Ancona, the capital of the Marche region, is also one of the main harbours of the Adriatic Sea.

Its name derives from the Greek ankon (meaning elbow), referring to the shape of its geographical position. It is situated between the slopes of the two extremities of the Monte Conero promontory called Monte Astagno, occupied by the citadel, and Monte Guasco, on which the 90 mt-high Cathedral stands.


Altitude: 16 mt a.s.l. -- Population: ca. 100,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 60100 -- Phone Area Code: 071 -- Patron Saint: San Ciriaco celebrated on the 4th of May -- Coordinates: 43°37'01" N - 13°31'00"E -- Useful links: the Comune official website www.comune.ancona.it | a map of Ancona

Administrative divisions

Ancona comprises the following Frazioni, Circoscrizioni & Localities: Angeli di Varano, Aspio, Barcaglione, Candia, Case Lanternari, Casine di Paterno, Forte Montagnolo, Gallignano, Ghettarello, Madonna delle Grazie, Madonnina, Massignano, Montacuto, Montesicuro, Monte Baldino, Monte degli Elci, Monteferro, Monte Galluzzo, Nave, Paterno, Poggio, Portonovo, San Luigi, Sant'Andrea, Sappanico, Taglio di Candia, Taglio di Torrette, Trave, Varano, Villa Romana

What to see

Where to stay

province of Ancona


The ancient town was founded by refugees from Syracuse about 390 BC, meaning "elbow", since the harbor to the east of the town was originally protected only by the promontory on the north, shaped like an elbow. In Roman times it kept its own coinage with the punning device of the bent arm holding a palm branch, and the head of Aphrodite on the reverse, and continued the use of the Greek language.

When it became a Roman colony is doubtful. It was occupied as a naval station in the Illyrian war of 178 BC. Julius Caesar took possession of it immediately after crossing the Rubicon. Its harbour was of considerable importance in imperial times, as the nearest to Dalmatia, and was enlarged by Trajan, who constructed the north quay, his architect being Apollodorus of Damascus. At the beginning of it stands the marble triumphal arch with a single archway, and without bas-reliefs, erected in his honour in 115 by the senate and people.

After the fall of the Roman empire Ancona was successively attacked by the Goths, Lombards and Saracens, but recovered its strength and importance. It was one of the cities of the Pentapolis under the exarchate of Ravenna, the other four being Fano, Pesaro, Senigallia and Rimini, and eventually became a semi-independent republic under the protection of the popes, until Gonzaga took possession of it for Pope Clement VII in 1532.

Pope Clement XII prolonged the quay, and an inferior imitation of Trajan's arch was set up; he also erected a lazzaretto at the south end of the harbour, Luigi Vanvitelli being the architect-in-chief. The southern quay was built in 1880, and the harbour was protected by forts on the heights. From 1797 onwards, when the French took it, it frequently appears in history as an important fortress, until Christophe Léon Louis Juchault de Lamoricière capitulated here on September 29, 1860, eleven days after his defeat at Castelfidardo.

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