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A harbour city, capital of the prosperous Marche region, Ancona has a rich history. Its name comes from the Syracuse word for elbow – Ankon – and the city has been a trading centre for at least 3,000 years, linking both coasts of the Adriatic Sea. This activity has left traces on the city’s monuments, its buildings and its urban fabric. The city is surrounded by a beautiful landscape, with hills rolling into the sea. Ancona’s mountain – Mount Conero – descends steeply into the water, and is now a regional park which protects its natural habitat. Ancona is also a capital of theatre – and historic theatres can be found across the region and offers all kinds of shows. Finally, the region boasts a delicious cuisine and some of the best wine in Italy such as the Cornero red, Verdicchio and the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba.
Ancona is a perfect base for visiting innumerable towns in the region, such as the historic centres of Loreto, Recanati, Senigallia, Jesi (the city of Federico II), plus the stunning natural Grotte di Frasassi, as well as Fabriano and Urbino, the capital of the Montefeltro.
The Marche (or the Marches) region has a rich, varied cuisine that has developed out of poverty and the need to make the most from what little there was. Here you will find many rustic, tasty recipes, often with a fish base. Typical dishes include: brodetto all’Anconetana (a hearty Adriatic fish soup, similar to bouillabaisse) and stoccafisso all’Anconetana (salted cod – Ancona style). Don’t miss stuffed Olives Ascolana Style.
As in most Italian cities, even in Ancona the aperitivo has taken over, especially during weekends. But, unlike other cities, it starts quite early – around 18.30 – and it doesn’t last long. After an aperitivo people go to restaurants or pizzerias for dinner. Ancona’s locals say that the city offers a tame nightlife. Usually, they chill-out and chat in bars and restaurants of the city centre until 22.00. Then, they go to the famous discos in Riccione or Rimini (about an hour’s drive away or accessible by train) or to the coastal towns nearby such as Falconara and Senigallia.
The shopping areas in Ancona include: Corso Mazzini, Corso Garibaldi, Corso Stamira, Piazza Roma, Piazza Erbe and Piazza del Plebiscito. Here you can acquire “Made in Italy” goods of all kinds, from clothes to bags, shoes and jewels. In the same streets and squares there are antiques shops and art galleries. If you look around, you will also find traditional pottery and lace shops.
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