Day 4: Ancona
Ancona Travel Blog› entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
Early in the morning our ship docked in the port city of Ancona, Italy. Instead of taking one of the guided ship tours, the members of our travel group stuck with me as I played tour guide. I had completed a lot of research on the city and came prepared with a walking route to lead the group on a historical tour.
The quiet city is staged on two hills and its roots began in the 4th century BC when Greek colonists from Syracuse settled the area. Colle Guasco is the large hill above the port and is crowned by a beautiful church, the Cathedral of San Ciriaco. I led the group on a meandering walking tour of it city which culminated in a climb up Colle Guasco to tour the church.
We started our walk with a swing by what I thought was the Arco di Traiano, raised in honor of Emperor Trajan (under whose rule Ancona first became a major port) but turned out to be a different landmark entirely that I have yet to identify. Oops. Tour guide fail!
From the unidentified arch we continued to Piazza della Repubblica and took pictures of the Teatro delle Muse (theatre). It's in very good condition for its age and we had the unique treat of watching a labor strike unfold before its doors that morning. From here we strode up another street to see the 16th century Fontana del Calamoa. This is a beautifully carved row of 13 masked spouts that playfully dispense public drinking water.
Finally on the summit of Colle Guasco we stood on the edge of the hill overlooking the sea. Absolutely stunning. The cathedral stood behind us, built on the site of a temple of Venus. It is a domed cruciform church in Byzantine-Romanesque style (12th century) and is dedicated to San Ciriaco. We had to wait for the mass in progress to conclude before we were able to tour the church and take pictures.
The rise to the peak of Colle Guasco marked the end of my official tour and Jon and I bid farewell to everyone as we headed back to the ship to relax and enjoy lunch on the deck. The rest of the members went their various ways for a few hours, with several members hiking up another steep hill to view a fortification of sorts.
Once everyone was back on board the ship set sail for Greece and our various NoVA Travelers passed the afternoon with naps, exercise classes, time in the spa, or other pursuits.
After dinner it was time to dance! We began what would become our nightly tradition of attending the big dance party in the largest multi-level lounge. Although there were a lot of cruise staff involved in the dance nights we took to one dancer- Raphael- quite immediately. *grin* We made a habit of attending as many of his dance classes as we could. The man had moves!