Day 4: Ancona

Ancona Travel Blog

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Colle Guasco crowned with the Cathedral of San Ciriaco (click to enlarge)

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.

labor protest

 

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.

Fontana del Calamoa
  On our way back down to the theatre we strolled through the oldest part of Ancona and passed the Palazzo de Governo (15th century), the Baroque church of Santa Domenico (18th century) and a few other notable Palazzos (palaces). As we wound onwards and upwards to the peak of Colle Guasco we caught glimpses of the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre off to the right. Not much is left of it and what remains is under restoration which means a lot of scaffolding and plastic.

 

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.

Arches within Cathedral of San Ciriaco
Once inside we were able to go down into a crypt to see not only the remains of notable church leaders but also those of an early Christian church (sixth century) that once stood on the premises and the temple of Venus (third century B.C.). It was a beautiful church, dark and cold in ambiance similar to the other churches we'd visited in Venice.

 

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.

our ship in port, as seen from the top of Colle Guasco
As with the night before we met for the evening show and dinner and ate our way through a fabulous 5 course meal in the dining room. The secret to eating well on an Italian cruiseline is to choose the Italian items offered on the menu and following this principle generally led to great satisfaction.

 

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!

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Colle Guasco crowned with the Cath…
Colle Guasco crowned with the Cat…
labor protest
labor protest
Fontana del Calamoa
Fontana del Calamoa
Arches within Cathedral of San Cir…
Arches within Cathedral of San Ci…
our ship in port, as seen from the…
our ship in port, as seen from th…
Port of Ancona
Port of Ancona
Jon and Jenni stand before a city …
Jon and Jenni stand before a city…
Jon and Jenni stand before a city …
Jon and Jenni stand before a city…
Diane stands beneath a Pope
Diane stands beneath a Pope
Cathedral dome
Cathedral dome
Jon demonstrates the tiny tiny tin…
Jon demonstrates the tiny tiny ti…
Smart cars are pretty light
Smart cars are pretty light
Artwork inside one of the churches.
Artwork inside one of the churches.
Someone important is buried here i…
Someone important is buried here …
Jenni emerges from the crypt insid…
Jenni emerges from the crypt insi…
narrow streets of Ancona
narrow streets of Ancona
Ginny adornes an Ancona wall
Ginny adornes an Ancona wall
Damali and Sanjay pose
Damali and Sanjay pose
arched streets of Ancona
arched streets of Ancona
Diane and the Lion of Cathedral of…
Diane and the Lion of Cathedral o…
tower
tower
Ancona
photo by: roman1607