The Diffuse Urban Museum
Il Museo Diffuso Urbano
City of Ancona
Every century, every millennium throughout history has left behind profound footprints upon the roads, piazzas and green areas of Ancona, creating a natural Diffuse Urban Museum, which today, through modern, technological tools, offers visitors 5 themed routes and 7 city itineraries that are rich with cultural, artistic and natural treasures.
Following the themed routes it is possible to get to know the Archaeological Ancona and become captivated by the ancient history of this region (inhabited since the Bronze Age), where the populations, in constant revival, constructed their own future on the remains of their ancestors, something easily deduced by the stratification of the Cathedral of St. Cyriacus and demonstrated by the rooms in Archaeological Museum that are abundant with exhibits on display: indelible signs of the times and lives of the people, like those on the Jewish Ancona route, mapped out on the roads in the Ghetto, the synagogue and the Campo degli Ebrei, which is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe.
Thanks to its particular geographical position, which is naturally open to cultural contamination, Ancona is also a City of Art, offering visitors an evocative route filled with works of art by masters from across the globe, like the Dalmatian Giorgio da Sebenico (who, as a mark of his passage here, created the portal of Sant’Agostino; a superb example of the florid Gothic style), the Venetian Carlo Crivelli, a refined fifteenth-century painter (whose precious works of art are kept in the city’s Pinacoteca Civica) and the wonderful Luigi Vanvitelli, a Neapolitan architect of Dutch origin (to whom Ancona owes the redesign of the port and the creation of the Lazzaretto).
On a themed route which takes the road directly from the Port of Ancona, well-known to the Greeks since the Mycenaean era (indebted to them is the etymology of city’s name, which originated from the term Akon, or elbow: a reference to the shape of the headland) and subsequently used by the Romans for military reasons and for trade. It is an ideal meeting place between east and west and the beating heart of the city. Visitors can admire Roman arches, nineteenth-century gates, inviting loggia, large piazzas and the marvellous Lazzaretto: a pentagonal-shaped island city built in the 1700s by Luigi Vanvitelli at Pope Clementine XII’s request for a place that was completely self-sufficient under quarantine (in order to safeguard the city against any epidemics transmitted by goods or people) but also a strategic military garrison.
It is really through its port, an international merchants’ market, that Ancona (since its Greek foundation) has been the Gateway to the East, guaranteeing citizenship to Slavs, Albanians and Jews, and enacting laws in such a way (since long ago) that has meant the city is naturally cosmopolitan, thanks to the multicultural stories still firmly imprinted in the fabric of society.
At the same time, the Diffuse Urban Museum’s 7 itineraries lead visitors around Ancona. The Historic City and its Port contains tales that bring to life the reality of the region in its most ancient times, which was strongly linked to the maritime trade. Visitors can learn about the Ancient Via Maestra, the access road to the city which stretches from the portal of Sant’Agostino to the Cathedral of San Cyriacus and observe the profound traces of the 18th Century Renovation left in Ancona’s architecture by the passage of Luigi Vanvitelli.
Next in the city centre is the Cappuccini and Cardeto Hills itinerary, which among the evocative viewpoints and green areas and after crossing historic, archaeological and cultural zones, arrives at the old Campo degli Ebrei. Strongly tied to the Jewish presence is a route that unwinds on the Slopes of Astagno Hill, and inside its quarters the daily life of the old ghetto is still traceable today.
The itinerary called Ankon: from Sea to Sea proposes instead the vision of the expansion of the city outside its walls through the establishment of wide avenues, boulevards and squares that took place following the Unification of Italy. The route linked to The Beaches, the Forts and the Bay offers visitors charming views characterised by the overhanging cliffs above a sea whose intense blue is broken up every so often by the whiteness of the emerging rocks. Amongst the small bays is that of Portonovo, which since the beginning of the nineteenth century has housed the Napoleonic blockhouse: a precious example of French military architecture.
To find your way around without missing out on anything that the city of Ancona has to offer, the Diffuse Urban Museum provides visitors with various information points, and through the possibility of a free audio guide for the iPhone downloadable from the App Store, it provides a real and accurate technological map useful for appreciating the city’s many historical, cultural and panoramic riches.
Special Thanks to:
Municipality of Ancona
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