Ancóna was the seat of an inhabited
protovillanoviano, then the centre of the Piceni, beginning
from the first part of the Iron Age.
The Greeks frequented the
City before the 4th Century BC, when it became a Siracusan Colony.
Conquered in 268 BC by the Romans, it continued to gain importance,
until the Emperor Traiano constructed a new port to the East
of the Greek one, which included an artificial pier,
approximately 300 m in length.
The City saw a decline during
the late-imperial period, and became one of the main exarchate
cities of Ravenna, after the victory of the Byzantines during
the war against the Goths (535-552.) Passed along with the other
cities of the Pentapoli, to become part of the Pontificate territory
(774), it maintained a notable autonomy, competing for commerce
against the Saracens, Normans and Venice, with the Adriatic
ports. Then counted under the Marca, from which the City derived
its name, and enjoying communal freedom from 1177 (only for
brief periods being subject of the Malatesta and Francesco Sforza),
until in 1532 it passed hands to the government of the Church.
This saw a renovation and amplification of its own port, work
of Pope Clemente XII (1734), who entrusted it to a special congregation.
Conquered by French troops and transformed into a Republic in
1797, then finally annexed to the Italian Reign in 1808, it
returned to being part of the Pontificate State in 1815. The
City fell into the hands of the Patriots between February and
March 1831 and suffered occupation by French troops until 1838.
It was then occupied by General Cialdini on 29th September 1860
and finally returned to Italy.
During the Second World War, at the end of 1943, it suffered
aerial bombardments which damaged it considerably.
The damage from the terrible Earthquake of 1972 and the subsequent
digs and reconstruction of the City, have determined important
archaeological finds: For example, a Picena Necropolis has
been discovered; in the Roman Necropolis, amongst the latest
finds to be counted, there’s the so called Tomb “of
hairdressing,” because of the characteristic instruments
discovered there. Traces of an old settlement found in the
Colle del Cordeto, are also noteworthy.