"A happy accident" Top 5 Page for this destination Ancona by toonsarah

Ancona Travel Guide: 144 reviews and 433 photos

Piazza del Papa and San Domenica

Our visit to Ancona was something of a happy accident. We were propelled here by convenience, but found an atmospheric old city worthy of a visit in its own right.

An unprepossessing area round the station was left behind as we boarded a bus that took us to a very different part of town – wide avenues, grand squares with shady trees and statues of imposing figures, a promenade by the sea and (best of all by far) a higgledy piggledy maze of streets in the old town that led us up and up to the wonderfully located Duomo overlooking the ferry port. Glowing golden in the magical light of a late afternoon sun, it was a fitting place to end a lovely week in Italy’s beautiful Umbria and Marche regions

Ancona was built on two hills in the 4th century BC by Greek colonists from Syracuse. Later, the Romans made use of its sheltered anchorage and in 115 AD, under the Emperor Trajan, created the present harbour walls. A ceremonial marble arch named for Trajan still stands at the end of the docks to mark his achievement, though we didn’t have time to visit this, only seeing it from the distance.

In the Middle Ages it was something of a battleground between German Emperors and the Venetian Republic, and was never able to assert itself as the powerful maritime republic it might otherwise have become. More recently it has suffered significant bombing in the Second World War, and a major earthquake in 1972.

Despite all this, enough of the historical city remains, and its hilly setting around the busy harbour give it a special character and charm. This is a busy, working port and a lived-in city, and all the more appealing for that.

I might not make a special journey to visit Ancona, but I would certainly enjoy spending more time here in the future should I be in the area, and I’d recommend adding a day here to any itinerary in the Marche region if possible.

I have arranged my tips on this page in an order that will enable you to follow us on our walk through the city. So please start with my first tip flying to Ancona.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Much more character than you might expect from first appearances
  • Last visit to Ancona: May 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (13)

Comments (9)

  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    May I apologise for the typos in my previous comment, I clicked on Post Comment without remembering to check it.

  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    This page is wonderful Sarah. I too, found Ingrid's detailed research very rewarding when touring around the Palatinate with her. I will be in Venice in September and was very tempted to sidetrack to Ancon on the strength of your fabulous desvriptions but sadly once you mentioned that it was not suitable for people with walking disabilities I knew That it would not be for me. Still, I've done your wonderful virtual tour and am very appreciative of your sensational effort. do have a Merry Christmas and all the very best for the New Year.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 21, 2012 at 1:01 AM

      Thank you for taking the time to explore Ancona with me and for these kind words :-) You should maybe look into the options there - certainly climbing that hill to the cathedral would be no good for anyone with real walking difficulties, but there are buses that go up there, and the newer part of the city is flat. There may also be the possibility of a bus tour - it's not something we looked for.

      And don't worry about the typos - we've all done it :-) But did you know you can click on the pencil (top right of the comment) and edit it? I have done that in the past when I've spotted typos in my comment!

    • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
      Dec 21, 2012 at 3:04 AM

      Thanks Sarah, no I didn't know about the pencil thing but will certainly try it next time. Will also make further enquiries into Ancona.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Oct 7, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    Sounds like you had a lovely afternoon and evening with the walk through old town up to the cathedral. The breakfast doesn't look good, and I would prefer to look for better coffee elsewhere too.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Oct 7, 2012 at 2:55 AM

      We did indeed - but you're right about the breakfast! I had another coffee on the train to Milano, but that wasn't a lot better ;-)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Sarah, great little page about this well known Italian port town. So far I haven't really made it to the east coast of Italy.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Sep 19, 2012 at 1:12 AM

      Thanks Holger :-) Ingrid and I had a lovely day exploring the town, as you can see - and we were so lucky with the weather, as the evening light especially was beautiful!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jul 22, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    Love Passetto, the Cathedral and the beautiful architecture in this city!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jul 19, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    Lovely photos and texts! Could it be that the elderly marble lion in front of the cathedral has lost most of its teeth?

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Of course I've heard of the town of Ancona before as a ferry and cruise ship port but that's all I knew about it. Thanks for showing it to me.

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Jul 15, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Mmmmmmmmm, I have been wondering about this city for a while and maybe you've convinced my to go there; let's "rethink" abou it. Thanks!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Oh what a lovely evening read :-)) Brings back so many nice & sweet memories, especially of the cathedral in the evening light :-)) And good to know that I can link my future Ancona page (smaller) to yours .-))


“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust (Joni Mitchell, "Amelia")”

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