What to see in Ancona, one-day itinerary including the main monuments and places of interest, including Arco di Traiano, Duomo, Diocesan Museum and Piazza del Plebiscito.
Commercial and industrial center of primary importance, as well as the regional capital of the Marche, Ancona is also a port of the Adriatic Sea of considerable importance, with shipping lines connecting to Greece and the territories of the former Yugoslavia.
The origins of Ancona date back to prehistory, later, in the fourth century, it became a colony of the Syracusan Dorians, and then passed to the Romans in 295 BC.
It was the emperor Trajan who enlarged the port to make trade with Dalmatia easier.
After passing under Byzantine rule, Ancona was destroyed in 839 by the Saracens and in the tenth century it became a free municipality.
After a period of domination by the Malatesta, Pope Clement VII seized the city in the sixteenth century, which caused the beginning of a period of decline that lasted until the eighteenth century, a time when the privilege of free port was granted by Pope Clement XII.
With an active participation in all the movements for the unification of Italy, Ancona was subjected to numerous bombings during the Second World War and suffered extensive damage following the 1972 earthquake.
The itinerary to visit Ancona can be started from the port, at the southern end of which is the Arco Clementino, built in 1738 by Vanvitelli to celebrate Pope Clement XII.
Continuing on, you will find the Arch of Trajan of 115 A.D. which, erected in honor of the Roman emperor, stands on four Corinthian columns.
Walking uphill to reach the top of the Guasco hill, you reach the Cathedral of San Ciriaco, a remarkable medieval monument, built between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries above the base of an Italic temple of the third century BC.
The Romanesque style of the cathedral is highlighted by the facade, preceded by a prothyrum and opened by a wonderful splayed portal, made of white and red stone, with decoration of Gothic columns and reliefs.Recommended readings
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The elegant building with a Greek cross plan culminates in a thirteenth-century dome, while inside three naves there are two rows of Roman columns dominated by Byzantine capitals.
Among the works preserved in the Cathedral, the monument of Blessed Ginelli, a work by Dalmata da Traù, is of particular importance.
Going down to the basement, accessible through the crypt, you can see the remains of the Italic temple and of the previous early Christian basilica.
Next to the cathedral is the interesting diocesan museum, which houses valuable works, including the sarcophagus of Flavio Gorgonio, decorated with bas-reliefs.
Once you leave the cathedral, turning left you reach the Roman amphitheater of the first century AD, of which some sections of the mosaic floor are visible, the main entrance and two secondary ones.
In the Piazza del Senato there is the eighteenth-century Church of Saints Pellegrino and Filippo Neri, with a large dome covered in copper, which houses a beautiful Byzantine Crucifix of the thirteenth century, made of polychrome wood.
In the same square overlook the Palazzo del Senato, built in the thirteenth century and an ancient municipal seat, and Palazzo Ferretti, where the national museum of the Marche is housed, which collects interesting finds from the Paleolithic and Iron Age periods, as well as Hellenistic sculptures , mosaics and Roman sculptures.
In Piazza Stracca there are the Palazzo degli Anziani, built in 1270 by Margaritone d'Arezzo and reworked in the seventeenth century, now a university site, and the Chiesa del Gesu, a seventeenth-century building with a suggestive curved facade by Vanvitelli, which preserves its interior the Circumcision painting, by Gentileschi.
Continuing the visit through Via Pizzecolli you arrive in the square of the same name, where there is the Church of San Francesco delle Scale, a building of 14th century origin but reworked in the 18th century, located on the top of a staircase.
The façade is noteworthy, where there is a beautiful Gothic portal finished with decorations of statues and reliefs, with two pillars alongside it supporting a pinnacle canopy.
Inside there are the Assunta, a large canvas by Lotto, and a Santa Casa di Loreto, created by Lilli.
Palazzo Bosdari is also located along Via Pizzecolli, which houses the civic art gallery and the museum of modern art.
Among the works preserved in the art gallery, the Crucifixion and Virgin and Child with Saints, by Titian, the Madonna and Child by Andrea del Sarto, and the Immaculate Conception by Guercino stand out.
Going back towards the port, with a downward path you come across the Romanesque church of Santa Maria della Piazza, dating back to the thirteenth century and having a beautiful facade.
In via della Loggia are the Loggia dei Mercanti, heavily restored in the fifteenth century following the Gothic style, and Palazzo Giovannelli-Benincasa, of fifteenth-century origin and having a noteworthy facade characterized by the presence of two orders of Gothic mullioned windows.
Arriving in Piazza della Repubblica, where the sixteenth-century church of the Santissimo Sacramento rebuilt in the eighteenth century is located, continue towards via Cialdini, where you can admire the former church of Sant’Agostino, dating back to the fifteenth century and equipped with a remarkable Gothic portal.
Reversing the direction of the path, after crossing Piazza della Repubblica again, you quickly reach Piazza del Plebiscito, where the Government Palace, dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, stands.
In the facade there is a Renaissance arch for the entrance to the courtyard, which partially presents itself as a portico composed of Gothic arches with small Guelph windows placed on the top.
In the same square there is the Church of San Domenico, from the eighteenth century, inside which there is a Crucifixion by Titian and an Annunciation by Guercino.
Via 29 September you reach Porta Pia, built at the end of the eighteenth century to celebrate Pius VI, and the Mole Vanvitelliana, built with a pentagonal shape by Vanvitelli in 1733 and put in communication with the mainland via bridges.
If you want to enjoy an excellent panoramic position, you can reach the citadel, a fortification used today as a public park, built in the sixteenth century by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger.