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Ancona is a major Italian port on the Adriatic Sea. The town is built on a ridge that lies like an amphitheater around the harbor. On the Colle Guasco you can find one of the main attractions of the city, the medieval cathedral San Ciriaco. This church was often destroyed during wars with invaders but restored again and again. The interior is impressive: decorations everywhere you look. There is a wonderful collection of Byzantine art as well.
The old town of Ancona was largely destroyed during World War II, but some sites are well preserved. For example the churches Gesu and the thirteenth century Santa Maria della Piazza whose portal is decorated beautifully. On the Piazza del Plebiscito stands a statue of Pope Clement XII. It is a popular meeting place for young and old. If you walk from the harbor to the cathedral on the hill, you will pass the big Fontana Calamo from the sixteenth century. Located nearby is the Archaeological Museum, where objects and art from the time before the Romans is exhibited. Not far from the cathedral remains can be seen of a Roman amphitheater.
In the port stands the L'Arco di Traiano, a marble triumphal arch from the second century and one of the best preserved Roman monuments. The passage is only three meters wide.
Art-lovers should visit the Pinacoteca Comunale, where more than a hundred paintings by Italians masters are on display, including works by Titian.
The Mole Vanvitelliana is a pentagonal building that was designed to protect the city against infectious diseases, especially malaria, of which one then thought it was spread through the air (mal aria = 'bad air').
Ancona is a great base for visits to picturesque Italian towns and beautiful beaches nearby. Close to Sirolo you can find nice sandy beaches. You have come to the Conero Riviera named after the high (572 m) rock that forms the center of the Conero Nature Reserve. The spectacular rocky coast is the biggest attraction of this park.
From Ancona you can easily visit cities like Rimini, Bologna or Ravenna. The independent country San Marino is easily accessible by rental car from Ancona (via the A-14 motorway). San Marino is situated 657 meters above sea level and therefore you have stunning views over the surrounding area. Moreover, you should wander around the narrow streets of this city, the capital of what calls itself world's oldest republic.
And what about car rides through the breathtaking Apennines, the ridge which runs straight through Italy? Located near Ancona is the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini, which consists of more than fifty mountain peaks over 2,000 meters high. The highest is the Monte Vettore (2476 m). In this area you can also find the Lago di Pilato where according to the legend, Pontius Pilatus was drowned by a herd of cattle (!).
The medieval Abbey Fiastra is best known for its surroundings. Flowers and plants grow here that are found nowhere else in Italy. This abbey is located near Tolentino, yet another beautifully preserved medieval town with an exceptional bell tower on the central square and the Castello della Rancia from the twelfth century. And there are Roman remains, including a bridge of that time.
Ancona is the largest and busiest city in the Marche; not only is it an important port, but also an important shopping location for people from the surrounding area. Therefore, it is not easy to find a parking space for your rental car in the center. Fortunately, there are several parking lots and garages, but even better is to leave your car at the hotel and visit the city center by public transport.
The Ancona airport is located six kilometers east of the city. The airport is easily accessible by car via the A-14 (Autostrada Adriatica), but you can also reach the airport via the coastal road (Via Flaminia).