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History of Ancona

The busy administrative capital of the Marche and the largest city in the region may not seem an obvious tourist centre. Give it time, though, and you may acquire a taste for the salt and spice of this restless sea port.

Built on two hills that form an amphitheatre around the harbour, it was settled in the 4thC BC by Greek colonists from Syracuse.

Later, the Romans exploited its sheltered anchorage and in 115 AD, under the Emperor Trajan, the present harbour walls were raised; the stately ceremonial marble arch standing forlornly at the end of the docks marks his achievement.

In the Middle Ages, the forces of the German Emperors, the Church and the Venetian Republic each made sure that Ancona was never able to establish itself as a powerful maritime republic. In 1532 it slid compliantly into the hands of the Papal States where it remained until the Unification of Italy.

Neither was the 20thC kind to this old city; badly bombed in the 2nd World War, it was again brought to its knees by a major earthquake in 1972.
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