This is a story...

with the sea as a main protagonist. An area characterized by a city (enclosed) between sea and countryside.
The history of Ancona is bonded to the sea since its foundation, which according to some occurred even before the birth of Rome (Picenian settlements), but which dates back officially to 387 BC when a colony was founded by Syracusan exiles right where the coast twisted to form an elbow-shaped inlet (Ankòn in Greek) generating a natural harbor.
Over the centuries that port became more and more important until it acquired a role of primary importance during the Roman imperial era (even today in the Old Port stands the arch erected in honor of Trajan returned victorious from the war of conquest in Dacia, in memory of this past).
But the port became even more a fundamental for the city after 1000 AD, when the city acquired autonomy and became a free district and a Maritime Republic.

The gateway to the East

The flourishing commercial traffic made Ancona one of the gateways to the East in constant dispute with Venice in its commercial activities with Constantinople and with the other eastern shores of the Mediterranean and the Aegean.
The city became cosmopolitan: Jews, Byzantines, Dalmatians, Albanians, Syrians and Egyptians lived in Ancona and the republic also flourished from an administrative point of view, giving itself the organization of a real city-state.

An independent town...

Defending its independence, the city won a siege in 1.173 by Frederick Barbarossa, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire determined to crush the free Italian communes to reaffirm his supremacy.

On that occasion, the exploits of city heroes (such as the famous Stamira) were inscribed in the annals of the city that still pays homage to these sons today.
For the defense of the area surrounding the city, made up of villages and rural areas, a system of defensive lines to protect the nearby Jesi and Osimo was built over time.
This is how the Castles of Ancona were born, some of which today are real towns and municipalities (Polverigi and Agugliano), others are the hamlets of the municipality of Ancona (Gallignano and Paterno), while others still retain the appearance of the medieval castle to all intents and purposes (Offagna), evoking a time when those places were set in defense of the independence of an industrious city open to the East.

The independence of the Maritime Republic of Ancona ended with a subterfuge by Pope Clement VII who had the fortress of the “Citadella” built in 1.532 to protect the city from hostile incursions from the sea. Instead, he used it to subdue Ancona by aiming cannons towards the city rather than towards the horizon. Nowadays the fortress occupies, as then, the top part of the Astagno hill and represents an example of a Renaissance fortification designed by Antonio da Sangallo.
Today the city develops on the elbow promontory that inspired its name and it expands between two seas, on one side the port collected in the natural inlet and on the other the cliffs of the Passetto, in the heart of the city. The cliffs extend to the south connecting to those of the Conero Riviera.

The role of the sea and the port continued to connotate the city. From the 1800s to the mid 1900s at the foot of the rocky cliffs of the Passetto (the only city beach) many caves were dug, used as shelters for fishing boats; today they characterize this stretch of rocky coast of the city in a unique way that combines the natural elements of cliffs overlooking the sea and rocks with characteristic shapes, the work of man linked once again to the coexistence with the sea.
Discovering the city of Ancona means immersing yourself in this tale through the marks left by history.

Take part in our trip...

dedicated to Ancona and its castles to immerse yourself in this history! We will lead you to discover this city with a pinch of adventure and, as usual, you will stay in a welcoming rural structure in the Ancona countryside.
Visit the page dedicated to this trip by clicking here and contact us for more information.

Do you want to take a dive into this special scenario? Contact us to plan your stay with Rurally to discover this territory from the most authentic side.

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