Nestled in the hills which overlook the Adriatic, Ancona is a city and seaport with a rich history of both Greek and Roman settlement. It’s the capital of rural Le Marche, an eastern Italian region typified by sandy bays, limestone cliffs, and yacht-filled marinas.
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From the surrounding, undulating coastal roads to the narrow city streets which criss-cross the city center, driving your rental car on Ancona’s roads will differ depending on your agenda.
The SS 16 is one of the region’s busiest highways, connecting Ancona with other major towns and cities on the Adriatic coast. Another coastal road is the Autostrada A14 - slightly shorter than the SS 16, it’s an ideal way to get from Ancona to the regions of Apulia and Emilia-Romagna, including beautiful Bologna. This scenic drive offers spectacular descents, dramatic road bridges, and narrow mountain tunnels. Both the A14 and the SS16 provide easy access to the region’s best beaches.
Ancona is one of the most significant Adriatic ports and the routes surrounding it can often become crowded. One of the city’s busiest roads is Banchina Giovanni da Chio, a coastal route which provides access to the port. The airport, found 18 kilometers away from the city center, is well connected to Ancona and surrounding towns. If you’re heading from the airport to the city, you’ll need to take the SS 16 then the Via Flaminia - an ancient Roman road which provides many of Italy’s most scenic views en route.
While driving in Italy, you should take great care to note that vehicles travel on the right side of the road. Italian law also states that headlights must be switched on at all times on expressways and that drivers must carry a reflective jacket, a warning triangle, and headlamp beam deflectors.You can learn more information about the country’s other driving laws and regulations by reading here.
Ancona is a thriving coastal city and capital of Italy’s Marche region. One of the main ports on the Adriatic Sea, its importance to Italy’s seafaring trade throughout history has given the city great commercial status and many sites of tourist interest.
Piazza della Repubblica is the city’s main square and features many prominent historical landmarks. To its west is Ancona’s beautiful harbor, which dates back to Roman times, and at the north end is the Arco di Traiano, a triumphal arch which bears an inscription referring to its erection in AD 115. Constructed in honor of Emperor Trajan, nearby archeological digs have found remains of similar structures which date back to the 2nd century BC.
During your time in Ancona, visit the Cattedrale di San Ciriaco – this cathedral was built on the same plot land as the temple paying homage to Venus Euplea, the goddess who looked out for sailors at sea. Glass floor panels in the church allow visitors to see parts of the original temple. If you want to learn more about Ancona’s history, head to the National Archaeological Museum, housed in the historic Palazzo Ferretti which was built in the 16th century.
Although it was simply a port long before it became a popular coastal resort, Ancona now attracts a huge number of tourists, with many taking advantage of the favorable Adriatic climate by heading to the beaches in and around the town.
Senigallia, a wide, sandy beach to the town’s north, is one of the most-visited beach retreats. The Conero peninsula is a craggy stretch of coastline south of Ancona, home to some of the most dramatic beaches that are only accessible on foot. Pesaro, to the north of Ancona, has beautiful sandy shores although they tend to become crowded during holidays – even during the week, the sand will be filled with neat lines of sun loungers. The great watersports and warm, calm water combine to bring the crowds, so it's definitely worth a visit.
Ancona and wider Le Marche offer beautifully cooked traditional Italian dishes. The region is famous for its fresh produce, sourced from both the fertile farmland and the sea. Visit a local restaurant and you’ll often spot brodetto on the menu. This is a unique fish stew made with cuttlefish or squid, seasoned with garlic and saffron. Dried codfish is another of the region’s popular dishes.
Locals who live in the Le Marche region are known for their love of meat, with one of the most popular creations being lasagne made with ground pork, mushrooms, and tomato. Popular meats across the area include wild boar, rabbit, and goose.
Le Marche is also famous for the wild forest mushrooms which grow throughout the region, as well as for its white truffles, which are worth their weight in gold – you can learn more by signing up for truffle-hunting trips. The best time to find white truffles is between October and the end of December while black truffles are most likely to be found between December and March.
For good food, great beaches and the chance to discover centuries of rich history and fascinating cultural insights, Ancona offers visitors a coastal retreat that’s hard to beat. Ready to book your trip? Click here