Ancona sits on the hills that surround the port like an amphitheatre, rising up in the bay formed by Monte Conero to the west. The port is the largest on the Adriatic Coast. The city is today divided into two distinct areas: the old historical and monumental part, with its maze of medieval streets and the Guasco hill behind it where the Greek acropolis once sat, and where today the Romanesque church of St Cyriacus can be found, and a modern part with straight roads that was begun in the 18th century. It is difficult to say with precision how the old Roman city would have looked, but the largest remains are the amphitheatre and Trajan's arch, a Roman work flanked by four Corinthian columns at the foot of Mount Guasco.
The city's origins are prehistoric, with Bronze Age settlements and significant finds from the Iron Age (9th - 2nd century B.C.). The name Ankon (meaning "elbow" in Greek) comes from the first Greek speaking sailors who made use of the natural harbour beneath Monte Guasco. The city was founded in the 4th century B.C. by the Dorian Syracusans, who gave it sandstone block walls and monuments. It was an ally with Rome in the battle of Sentino (295 B.C.) against the Samnites, Etruscans and Gauls, after which it came under the influence of Rome, while maintaining its Greek character. In the 2nd century A.D. the emperor Trajan fortified the port for his campaigns in Dacia and in his honour an Arch was erected on the quay that is attributed to Apollodorus of Damascus (115 A.D.). The city was destroyed by the Saracens in 839, and in the 11th century it became a "free commune" developing sea trade with the East and competing with Venice.
From the 14th to 15th centuries the city experienced the most prosperous and brightest period in its history, enriching its urban landscape with monuments and extending the city's walls twice. As a Papal State, after a period of decline, it rose again when the free port was established (1732) thanks to Pope Clement XII. After the battle of Castelfidardo in 1860 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy. It was only after the unification of Italy that the city grew to the west towards the station and to the east towards Piazza Cavour; after the First World War the city stretched as far as the Passetto and after the Second World War it expanded south of the Astagno hill in the San Lazzaro plain to the southwest.
The historical centre has plenty of monuments and buildings of historical interest, such as the Theatre of the Muses, the Church of SS. Sacramento, Piazza Plebiscito, the National Archaeological Museum of the Marche, the Civic Gallery, and the Cathedral of St Cyriacus with its Diocesan Museum. There are countless historical palazzos in the city, including the Palazzo Ferretti built in 1560, with doorways inside from 1700; the Palazzo degli Anziani, built in 1270 and renovated in 1647, with an important 16th century Baroque façade; the Palazzo Bosdari, bought by the Bosdari family in 1550 and home to the Gallery of Modern Art; the Loggia dei Mercanti, restored in 1444, with a flowery Gothic Venetian façade; the Palazzo del Senato, built halfway through the 12th century, it suffered serious damage in the First World War and was restored in 1952; the Palazzo del Governo, built as early as 1300, whose hall was decorated by Merlozzo da Forlì. Also of interest are the city's museums, such as the Beltrami Museum in Filottrano: situated in a 19th century palazzo where you can find a wide variety of items: shields, lances, pipes, hides and totems, and the Accordion Museum (in Castelfidardo) which houses over 100 accordions from all over the world.
The city centre is a great place for shopping, especially in Corso Mazzini, Corso Garibaldi, Piazza Roma and Piazza Cavour. The Passetto is where people head for the beach and the sea and offers splendid views. In the port the ancient walls and ports, Trajan's Arch, Clemente's Arch and the Mole Vanvitelliana or Lazzaretto can be found. In the Cittadella public park on top of Astagno hill part of the walls of the ancient citadel can still be seen.
The cuisine of the region's capital includes a good part of the Marche region's cuisine. Highlights are the seafood dishes: sole, either fried, barbecued or in white wine, fried squid and prawns, sea bream and bass cooked simply without sauce or grilled, Ancona style dried cod, breaded mantis shrimps and mussels, date shell soup, stewed cuttlefish, sardines hot from the grill, octopus cooked in sauce and the famous fish soup. Dishes for meat lovers include "vincisgrassi" (pasta baked in a rich sauce), tripe, "minestra col grasso", porchetta, lamb, rabbit or chicken "in potacchio". Among the desserts the "beccute" (little sweet tarts of bread made from cornflour, pine nuts and sultanas) "ciambellone" (a large type of doughnut) stand out in particular. Monte Conero and Castelli di Jesi are the two closest DOC wine regions to Ancona, producing Verdicchio, Vernaccia, Vinsanto, Rosso Piceno and Bianco Piceno, and Rosso del Conero.
From ceramics to fabrics, from pipes to hats: the Marche region jealously guards its craft traditions, which also include wickerwork, accordions, and wrought copper and iron. Ancona has 20 km of varied coastline. The city beach, the Passetto, with its distinctive grottoes and beach facilities is famous for its white rock and its typical Ancona feel. Proceeding south along the Conero's panoramic route you come across the beaches of the Trave, a strip of land that cuts through the clear waters, and of Mezzavalle an arc of stony white beach. On reaching the slopes of Conero you come across the breathtaking bay of Portonovo. In the northern part of the city, around Palombina, you will find a sandy shore.




You will leave Ancona by coach, arriving in the little town of Genga about an hour later where you will meet your guide and begin the tour of the caves. Discovered on 28 June 1948 by Mario Marchetti, Paolo Beer and Carlo Pegorari, the caves were first opened to the public in 1974. Since then countless tourists have visited this enchanting spot where nature can be admired in its full beauty, splendour and magnificence. The spectacular beauty of these caves is due in part to their many stalactites and stalagmites and numerous chambers. You will follow the most famous route through the caves, passing through the "Ancona Abyss", the first part of the cave discovered by the three explorers and named after their native city, the "Crystallised Lake" and the "Fairy Castle", whose name was inspired by its spires and pinnacles. As you continue along the route, you will pass through many striking chambers, such as the "Organ Pipes", the "Hall of Candles", the "Bear's Hall" and the "Grand Canyon". We will finish our excursion in one of the most famous winery, where you can taste some good local wine.


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Inside Costa Victoria



Panoramic View from the Ship

Ancona to Genga by BUS







Genga to Ancona by BUS