Ancona\'s origins are uncertain. The conformation of the territory enabled ancient peoples to disembark there and then settle in the hinterland. For example, the Hellenic and Etruscan influences made the inhabitants increasingly civilised until 387 BC, when a colony of Dorians from Syracuse brought a breath of civilisation with them. Majestic, strong buildings were erected, defensive walls were built, and Ancona began to be feared, repelling the invasion by the Senon Gauls. It became a Roman colony in 276 BC. Then after the Empire fell, the barbaric invasions began, and the city had to defend itself repeatedly. The city quickly rose again and already in 1137 was able to repel another two sieges by Federico Barbarossa. Tee city went through a dark, depressed period between the end of the XVII century and the first decades of the XVIII century. There were few maritime traders and the industries were almost paralysed. In 1797 it was occupied by the French, whereas the two world wars saw the city in the front line, not only due to patriotic spirit, but also due to the bombardments of enemy forces which destroyed entire quarters. The city grew and developed as from the 60s, in spite of the earthquake of 1972 and the landslide of 1982.
The city and its monuments
The Lazaretto or Lazar House of Ancona is without any doubt one of the city\'s chief works of art. It was built by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli in the port area of the administrative centre, and was designed for the urban re-organisation of Ancona toward the sea, and to guarantee immunity against epidemics brought by goods and persons arriving from places recognised as suspect. The Mole Vanvitelliana still has a classic pentagonal form: a kind of city island, almost a self-sufficient model of a citadel able to house up to two thousand persons. But Ancona is also the city that succeeded in re-building itself after the earthquake of \'72 and the landslide of 1982. This is the city of the new quarter: Belluschi, Quaroni, Trevisan, Taffuri, De Grossi, Guerri and Canella. The San Ciriaco cathedral watches over them all. To conclude, among the particularly beautiful works, we should also remember the Church of Santa Maria della Piazza and the Merchant\'s loggia, a work by the Dalmatian artist Giorgio da Selenico, who also designed the portals of the churches of SantAgostino and San Francesco alle Scale, as well as the façade of Palazzo Benincasa in via della Loggia.
The geographical area
In the province of Ancona, the pulsating heart of the Marches, one can find cities and towns rich with their many treasures, like the Loreto Basilica, the Frasassi grottoes, as well as places of unique natural beauty, stemming from the soft green colours of the hinterland, through to the deep blue of the coast of Sirolo, Numana and Senigallia. Numana, which was founded by the Sicilians, developed as a maritime port. Instead, Senigallia stands near the Misa river. All the economic activity is based on summer tourism due to the presence of the so-called "velvet beaches", thus named due to the very fine sand of the sea shore. This tourist vocation began in the XX century, when it replaced the glorious trading events linked to the port canal and a great trade fair which attracted many merchants from all over Italy. Lastly, Falconara Marittima, is a town substantially divided into two hemispheres: one mainly industrial and tourist and the other (in the high part of the municipality) which developed in the course of centuries around the medieval castle.