Seaport (pop., 2001: 100,402), capital of the Marche region, central Italy. Founded by colonists from Syracuse circa 390 BC, it was taken by Rome in the 2nd century BC. It became a flourishing port particularly favoured by Trajan, who enlarged the harbour. It was attached to the Holy Roman Empire in the 12th century; in the 16th century it came under papal protection, which was largely maintained until Ancona became part of Italy in 1861. It underwent severe bombing in World War II, but many notable Roman and medieval landmarks survive.
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Ancona (Ankon) is a city and a seaport in the Marche, a region of central Italy, population 101,909 (2005). Ancona is situated on the Adriatic Sea and is the center of the province of Ancona and the capital of the region.
The town is finely situated on and between the slopes of the two extremities of the promontory of Monte Conero, Monte Astagno, occupied by the citadel, and Monte Guasco, on which the Duomo stands (150 m). The latter, dedicated to St Judas Cyriacus, is said to occupy the site of a temple of Venus, who is mentioned by Catullus and Juvenal as the tutelary deity of the place.
When it became a Roman colony is doubtful. It was occupied as a naval station in the Illyrian War of 178 BC (Livy xli. i). Julius Caesar took possession of it immediately after crossing the Rubicon. Its harbour was of considerable importance in imperial times, as the nearest to Dalmatia, and was enlarged by Trajan, who constructed the north quay with his Syrian architect Apollodorus of Damascus. At the beginning of it stands the marble triumphal arch with a single archway, and without bas-reliefs, erected in his honour in 115 by the senate and people.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Ancona was successively attacked by the Goths, Lombards and Saracens, but recovered its strength and importance. It was one of the cities of the Pentapolis under the exarchate of Ravenna, an administrative unit of the Byzantine Empire. With the Carolingian conquest of northern Italy, it became the capital of the Marca di Ancona, whence the name of the modern region. After 1000 Ancona became increasingly independent, eventually turning into an important maritime republic (together with Gaeta, Trani and Ragusa, it is one of those not appearing on the Italian naval flag), often clashing against the nearby power of Venice. An oligarchic republic, Ancona was ruled by six Elders, elected by the three terzieri into which the city was divided: S. Pietro, Porto and Capodimonte. It had a coin of its own, the agontano, and a series of laws known as Statuti del mare e del Terzenale and Statuti della Dogana. Ancona was usually allied with Ragusa and the Byzantine Empire. In 1137, 1167 and 1174 it was strong enough to push back imperial forces. Anconitan ships took part to the Crusades, and his navigators include Cyriac of Ancona. In the struggle between the Popes and the Emperors that troubled Italy from the 12th century onwards, Ancona sided for Guelphs.
Differently from other cities of northern Italy, Ancona never became a seignory. The sole exception was the rule of the Malatesta, who took the city in 1348 taking advantage of the black death and of a fire that had destroyed much of the edifices. The Malatesta were ousted in 1383. In 1532 it lost definitively its freedom and became part of the Papal States, under Pope Clement VII. Symbol of the papal authority was the massive Citadel. Together with Rome and Avignon, Ancona was the sole city in the Papal States in which the Jews were allowed to stay after 1569, living into the ghetto built after 1555.
Pope Clement XII prolonged the quay, and an inferior imitation of Trajan's arch was set up; he also erected a Lazaretto at the south end of the harbor, Luigi Vanvitelli being the architect-in-chief. The southern quay was built in 1880, and the harbour was protected by forts on the heights.
From 1797 onwards, when the French took it, it frequently appears in history as an important fortress, until Christophe Léon Louis Juchault de Lamoricière capitulated here on 29 September 1860, eleven days after his defeat at Castelfidardo.
In 2007, there were 101,480 people residing in Ancona (in which the greater area has a population more than four times its size), located in the province of Ancona, Marche, of whom 47.6% were male and 52.4% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 15.54 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 24.06 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Ancona resident is 48 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Ancona grew by 1.48 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.56 percent. The current birth rate of Ancona is 8.14 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.
As of 2006, 92.77% of the population was Italian. The largest immigrant group came from other European nations (particularly those from Albania, Romania and Ukraine): 3.14%, followed by the Americas: 0.93%, East Asia: 0.83%, and North Africa: 0.80%. Currently, 1 in 6 babies born in Ancona has at least one foreign parent in which babies born of an Eastern European background is most prevalent.
The interior, which has a crypt under each transept, in the main preserves its original character. It has ten columns which are attributed to the temple of Venus, and there are good screens of the 12th century, and other sculptures. The church was carefully restored in the 1980s.
There are also several fine late Gothic buildings, including the churches of S. Francesco and S. Agostino, the Palazzo Benincasa, the Palazzo del Senato and the Loggia dei Mercanti , all by Giorgio Orsini, usually called da Sebenico, and the prefecture, which has Renaissance additions.
The portal of S. Maria della Misericordia is an ornate example of early Renaissance work.
The archaeological museum contains interesting pre-Roman (Piceni) objects from tombs in the district, and two Roman beds with fine decorations in ivory.
The Pinacoteca Civica Francesco Podesti is housed in the Palazzo Bosdari, reconstructed in 1558 - 1561 by Pellegrino Tibaldi. Among the works are paintings by the local painter Francesco Podesti (1800-1895) and the painter from Camerino Carlo da Camerino (late 15th- early 16th century) and by Arcangelo di Cola (not. 1416-1429). Also featured are paintings Andrea Lilli (1570c. - post 1631).
Other paintings include: "La Madonna col Bambino" tavola by Carlo Crivelli (1430/35c.- 1495c.) "Sacra Conversazione" by Lorenzo Lotto (1480 c.-1556) "Ritratto di Francesco Arsilli" by Sebastiano Del Piombo (1485 c.-1547) "La Circoncisione" by Orazio Gentileschi (1563 c.-1638 o 46) "L'Immacolata Concezione" & la "Santa Palazia" di Guercino (1591-1666) "Quattro Santi in estasi" & "Angeli musicanti" di Andrea Lillio Pala Gozzi by Tiziano Vecellio (1487/88-1576) featuring "L'Apparizione della Vergine" (1520).
Modern artists featured are Bartolini, Bucci, Campigli, Cassinari, Cucchi, Levi, Sassu, Tamburi, Trubbiani and others.