Ancona is established on the hills around a natural harbour on the Adriatic coast of to the west of the Le Marche region of Italy. The town dates back to the 5th century BC, when Greek exiles from Syracuse (now part of Sicily) first established a settlement here.
It is a popular arrival point from the UK with flights to the nearby Falconara airport acting as a popular entry point for the Marches region of Italy, and is also used as a ferry port for passengers to Greece and Croatia.
There aren't a huge number of things to see in Ancona, that was badly damaged during WWII, but it deserves an exploration if you are passing through - especially the older part of the town.
Set in a natural harbour, between the citadel on Monte Astagno and the cathedral on Monte Guasco, the highlights of the town include the Loggia dei Mercanti, a beautiful and elaborately decorated 15th century trading centre that escaped wartime damage.
Near Ancona harbour the 1,900 year old, 18 metre high, Trajan's Arch ('Arco di Traiano') is decorative and very well preserved, if a little lost among the activity of the port, and reminds us that the port was also important since Roman times.
The roman-gothic style Cathedral of San Ciriaco is built on the site of a much more ancient temple and has an attractive understated facade - note especially the ornate doorway. Inside the painted ceiling and dome are the main highlights.
The church of San Francesco delle Scale is another notable monument in the town, while the 16th century fountain 'Fontana del Calamo' is another treat to discover with its 13 decorative carvings acting as waterspouts.
Art in Ancona
There is a good art gallery in Ancona (the Pinacoteca), which contains works by Titian, Lotto, and others. Stepping back further in time the Archaeological Museum has interesting artefacts from both Greek and Roman periods of the town's history.
You should also check if there are any interesting exhibitions at the 18th century Lazzaretto (aka Mole Vanvitelliana), the large pentagonal building (once a quarantine centre for arriving immigrants) at the southern edge of the harbour, during your visit.
Another church of note is the pretty Roman church of Santa Maria della Piazza, with its elaborate carvings.
After exploring the town the perfect place to relax is on one of the beaches at the foot of Mount Conero, or perhaps sampling the regional specialities in one of Ancona's restaurants. Alternatively the Cardeto Park on the side of the hill has lovely views out across the sea.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Marche guide.