Ancona is a port on the Adriatic coast of central Italy. After disembarking the ship a short walk will take you to the central streets of the town, where you will find plenty of typical Italian shops and street markets. The historic features of the town are easy to locate and well-signposted, although it is worth considering that the cathedral is a 10 minute walk up a steady hill with lots of steps. If you feel peckish pop into one of the many cafes and order a crodino or aperitivo - a bitter sweet non-alcoholic aperitif style drink – as long as you order around lunchtime it will usually be accompanied by some nibbles, such as olives, pastries or sandwiches.
The appearance of the town has changed a lot since World War 2 due to bomb damage and subsequent earthquakes. Despite this, it still houses monuments of interest such as the Cathedral remodelled in the 12th and 13th centuries in Romanesque style with evident Byzantine influence. Notable landmarks, restored since the war, include the marble Arch of Trajan (115), the 11th century Church of Santa Maria della Piazza and the Cathedral of San Ciriaco, which is supposed to occupy the site of a Roman temple of Venus and incorporates the remains of a 5th century basilica. The city has many fine Gothic buildings and is the site of the National Museum of Marche and Piazza del Plebiscito considered the favourite meeting point of Ancona.
Founded by Syracusan colonists in about 390 BC, it was conquered by Rome in the 2nd century BC and became a flourishing port. Attacked by Goths, Lombards, and Saracens, Ancona declined but recovered its importance in the Middle Ages. It came under direct papal rule in 1532 which lasted until Ancona became part of Italy in 1860.
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