Around and about Ancona
Ancona and its hinterland, amidst fortified towns and ancient places of worship
From its commanding hilltop position, Ancona's Cathedral of San Ciriaco enjoys sweeping views of the sea on one side and the whole of Marche's ancient capital city on the other.
Not far from here, evident traces of Ancona's Roman past can be seen in the form of the Arch of Traiano and the Amphitheater.
Ancona's seafront promenade leads visitors to the Palazzo degli Anziani, and the Chiesa del Gesù, Church designed by Luigi Van Wittel, alias "Vanvitelli". Further on there is the Church of San Francesco alle Scale and the Piazza del Plebiscito, this latter overlooked by the churches of San Domenico and Santa Maria della Piazza.
Chiaravalle and Morro d'Alba
Heading inland from Ancona, we come to the town of Chiaravalle and the Abbey of Santa Maria in Castagnola: one of just three monasteries built by the Cistercian monks of Clairvaux in Italy.
Just a few kilometers away lies the medieval town of Morro d'Alba, famous for its highly acclaimed "Lacrima" wine.
A fascinating collection of traditional farming equipment is housed in the town's Utensilia Museum.
The town and castles of Jesi
The nearby town of Jesi is protected within massif defence walls. According to local legend, it was here, in the square which still bears his name, that Emperor Federico II of Svevia was born (in 1194).
In just a few square meters, a great number of impressive works of architecture can be found: Palazzo Ripanti, Palazzo della Signoria, and Palazzo Pianetti, this latter now home to the town's art museum. Jesi's Archaeological Museum is situated within the San Floriano Complex.
The Castelli of Jesi are situated just outside the town. These "castles" are, in reality, what remains of 14 ancient fortified villages
Serra San Quirico and Fabriano
At Serra San Quirico, visitors can witness the "copertelle": a series of internal passages built in to the thick walls with enclose the town.
Not to be missed: the marvelous stucco works and ancient organ inside the Church of Santa Lucia. Not far from Serra San Quirico lies the Abbey of Sant Elena, founded by San Romualdo in 1005-1009.
From here, the town of Fabriano is within easy reach. Famous worldwide for its paper making tradition, it is not surprising to discover that the town has a superb museum entirely dedicated to the history of the craft.
In 1997, an earthquake caused considerable damage to many of town's most important buildings. One of Fabriano's old paper mills was transformed in deposit to house the 700 plus artworks salvaged
The Palazzo del Podestà and Loggiato di San Francesco both face on to the triangular shaped Piazza del Comune, at the center of which lies the Sturinalto fountain. The Cathedral of San Venanzo and the ex Hospital of Santa Maria del Buon Gesù are both situated overlooking Piazza Umberto.
Genga, Arcevia and Serra de'Conti
Although Genga, hidden away amongst the woods, is best known for its vicinity to the Caves of Frasassi, the town is itself more than worthy of visit. This is where to admire the Palazzo dei Conti della Genga, the Church of San Clemente (now transformed in Museum of Sacred Art), and two sanctuaries: the Temple of Valadier and the Hermitage of Santa Maria infra saxa.
Not to be missed: the nearby town of Arcevia with its circuit of 9 castles
At Serra de' Conti there is an interesting Museum dedicated to Monastic Art whilst at Castellone di Suasa there is an archaeological park in which to observe numerous traces of the town's Roman origins.