"Ancona, a door open on the Adriatic" Top 5 Page for this destination Ancona by JLBG

Ancona Travel Guide: 143 reviews and 428 photos

Ancona is a main harbour of the Italian coast of the Adriatic. It is important for trade but also for travelers. Ancona and Bari, much southern, are the two ports of embarkment on the ferries to Greece and the whole eastern coast of the Adriatic for all visitors living in Western Europe. The traffic increased a great deal since 1990 : all travelers to Turkey, that mostly drove the Magistrale through ex-Yougoslavia to reach Salonique and the Bosphorus, sailed now on the ferries Ancona-Igoumenitsa. Thus Ancona is a busy city with a harbor that is squeezed between the sea and the hills that surround the bay. About 20 different companies sail from Ancona to Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Turkey and 1.5 million passengers every year go through the port of Ancona.

Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche, a region of northeastern Italy , population 100,507 (2001). Ancona is situated on the Adriatic Sea and is the center of the province with the same name and the capital of the region.

The city is located 133 miles northeast of Rome and 127 miles southeast of Bologna .

The name Ancona means "elbow" (from Greek *ankon 'elbow'), referring to the shape of its geographical position.

I have often been to Ancona, either when taking a ferry to Greece or when landing from Greece but there was never any spare time to visit the city.

In 2005, as the weekly ferry sailed Saturday July 16th 2005 at 4PM to Bar (Montenegro), I had planned to do the journey between Grenoble and Ancona on 2 days, in order to arrive at 11AM in Ancona, pay a short visit to the old city and have dinner in some nice restaurant. But actually, since our morning departure from Piacenza, the traffic was very heavy. Several times, we were even completely still for a moment. Some drivers were very excited and surpassed the files on the right, on the emergency lane. Amazingly, they all had Swiss plates ! Swiss have a reputation of being orderly and respectful of the rules but as my family lives a few kilometers from the Swiss border, I knew pretty well that this is true IN Switzerland but much less OUT of Switzerland. Then, I thought, these Swiss abroad feel really ABROAD to take such liberties with the rules…

Finally, we arrived only at 2:30, had no time for dinner and went directly to check in at the Montenegro line offices (Morfimare), which took almost one hour as the queue in front of the office was hectic. We were ready to embark on board of the Sveti Stefan II at 3:30. Actually, not really ready : as the quay was very noisy with several engines roaring high, we had inadvertently left the AC of the car on and the car did not start any more…

We had no starting electric wires that would have allowed to plug on another car’s battery (actually, we discovered much later that we had one in a hidden box of the car, that we had never used and completely forgotten it was there). I started begging help from drivers of other cars. With those that spoke Italian, it was easy. Some understood only German or Albanian, fortunately my little knowledge of German was enough to make me understood. A Franco-Montenegrin helped me to ask to Serbian speaking drivers but nobody around had any starting electric wires. After a while an Albano-Swiss proposed with the help of several Montenegro-Germans and of our fellow Franco-Montenegrin to push the car until it would start. Fortunately it succeeded and I left the engine run until some one from the crew required me to drive into the ferry. It was 3:45 and sailing was scheduled for 4:00.

I felt that it was fine, given that the engine would not stall at the wrong moment : I had been warned by VT Karenincalifornia that on Sveti Stefan II, last boarders landed first and thus avoided a time consuming queue at the custom on arrival in Bar while first boarders landed the last. We were surprised to discover that though the ferry should have sailed 15 minutes later, there were very few other cars and that we were at the very bottom of the garage. At 4:00, it did not sail, neither at 5:00, nor at 6:00 and cars went on arriving and embarking. Amazingly, they were mostly holding Swiss plates. I wondered why so many Swisses had such an interest in Montenegro! Actually, the explanation was that the “Swisses” were Albanian (both from Albania and from southern Montenegro) working in Switzerland. They had all bought their tickets through the same agency, so when they were caught in the traffic jams, some phoned to the agency which phoned to the boat that they should wait before sailing ! We finally sailed at 7:30 instead of 4:00 but the hold of the boat was now full !

I understood why our Franco-Montenegrin friend, that took the ferry every year, had managed to arrive in Ancona the day before ! We will do the same next time.

On arrival in Bar, we wondered if the engine would start by itself. We did not really worry as, anyway, the crew needed to get us out of the ferry in any way ! However, we expected to have to drive reverse all the way from the hull to the stern entrance. Unexpectedly after a while, we suddenly saw the sunlight in front of us. There was also a front way out which allowed us to go out fast and avoid most of the queue. BTW, the engine DID start by itself !

  • Last visit to Ancona: Aug 2005
  • Intro Updated Jan 15, 2006
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Reviews (9)

Comments (13)

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Good intro and nice tips. The Cathedral San Ciriaco certainly has an interesting history. Good pictures.

  • Feb 2, 2009 at 8:37 AM

    Intersting general tips

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2008 at 9:23 AM

    Interesting. I spent two wet days in early May 30 years ago with three children taking buses from one destination to another. Some parts were very interesting, in spite of the rain.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    May 25, 2008 at 5:20 AM

    what an adventure

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2007 at 6:31 AM

    Indeed, you experienced an adventure that you did not plan. Your introduction serves as a warning to others. Thank goodness it worked out for you.

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Jul 19, 2006 at 1:23 AM

    ah Ancona, refreshed my fond memories and picking up some warmth and sunshine :-) lovely page JL

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Jun 29, 2006 at 6:35 PM

    If you knew then what you know now, would you visit Ancona? It looks like a pretty place...

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2006 at 1:49 PM

    What an ordeal you had getting onto the Sveti Stefan II! I very much enjoyed reading about your adventure! You are right - once you are finally on, you can breathe a sigh of relief!

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2005 at 5:33 AM

    Picturesque hills and houses. Nice page.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Nov 12, 2005 at 4:14 AM

    What a trip to go to Montenegro ! But it is always nice to see how helpful people are and how much hand language works in such a language mix :-)) Enjoyed your page :-)

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