Ancona is the chief town of the Marche region, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Here there is one of the most important ports of Italy. The city was founded by the Greeks of Syracuse in 387 A.C. It was later conquered by the Romans. During this period, under the order of emperor Trajan, the port was expanded. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire the city was conquered first by Odoacer, then by the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines and the Longobards. In 774 it came under the rule of the Papal States and later it became part of the Holy Roman Empire.
After the discovery of America and the fall of Constantinople into the Turks hands, the trade shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. For Ancona began a period of recession that lasted until 1732, when Pope Clement XII made expanding the port and Ancona began a new economic development.
Ancona is situated on the promontory formed by the slopes of Monte Conero and overlooking the bay. The headland has the shape of a bent elbow, it is wet from the sea both East and West. For this reason you may find a natural phenomenon of great beauty, the sun rises and sets over the sea.
Ancona is a very important tourist destination, both for its historical centre and its beautiful beaches. One of the most famous beaches is Portonovo, located just below Monte Conero. The beach is formed by the typical white rounded stones.
During World War II, a part of the medieval city was destroyed. Despite this the city has a fascinating cultural blend of antiquity and modernity. In the heart of the old town is Piazza del Plebiscito , also known as Piazza del Papa. It is the oldest square, opened in the 15th century. It has a very elongated rectangular shape and is placed on different levels connected by two flights of stairs. The square is lined with important monuments such as the Government Palace with its Tower and the Church of San Domenico. In the middle of the square there is the statue of Pope Clement XII with his hand blessing the city.
Then there is the Piazza della Repubblica, with the Teatro delle Muse, Piazza Cavour and Piazza Roma with its beautiful Fountain of “Tredicici Cannelle” According to tradition, if you drink the water of the fountain you are sure to return to Ancona.
One of the main streets of the city is Via Pizzecolli, a medieval street at the top of which stands the Church of San Francesco delle Scale. In the vicinity you can see the ruins of the Roman Forum.
Very interesting are also the Archaeological Museum, the ruins of the ancient Roman amphitheater and the Cathedral of San Ciriaco erected on a hill where once stood a temple dedicated to Venus. A famous landmark in the city is the Arch of Trajan. On the opposite side of the harbour there is the Arch of Pope Clement XII.
Another important church is Church of Santa Maria della Piazza, built in Romanesque style in the XI-XII centuries.
In the modern part of the city , there are many shopping malls, stores, large and small factories. Ancona is famous for its textiles and footwear.
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