One of a select few places where the sun rises and sets on the sea, Ancona spreads out like a headland into the sea, in the shape of an elbow jutting out onto the Adriatic. The name Ancona derives from the Greek word Ankon which in fact means “elbow». An ancient elbow, prehistoric even, if it can truly boast settlements of the Bronze age, dating back to the second millennium BC, and that preserves in its museums the evidence of the Picenes civilisation from the Iron Age. An elbow-shaped landing place: this metaphor, and therefore the name, was coined by the first Greek sailors who visited this natural port, located at the foot of Colle Guasco. In 387 BC, a colony of Siracusans, the Dorians, settled in the town and renamed it Doria, building monuments and walls around it in blocks of sandstone. It was the first urban settlement, facing the sea. Allied with the Romans in the battle of Sentinum (295 AD) against the Sannites, Etruscans and Gauls, Ancona then entered the Roman orbit, becoming one of its colonies. During the 2nd Century BC, Emperor Trajan developed the port in line with his “Dacian campaigns», and in his honour, the Triumphal Arch was erected on the mole attributed to Apollodorus of Damascus (115 AD), and it remains the most significant Roman monument that has survived to date, representing also the most elegant mark of the ancient port that is now integrated with modern features. Destroyed by the Saracens in the year 839, Ancona was organised around the Eleventh Century into an independent commune, developing maritime commerce with the East and constructing prestigious monuments: the Cathedral of San Ciriaco, the Palazzo del Senato senate-house and the church of Santa Maria della Piazza. In 1167 and 1174, Ancona withstood the assaults of Barbarossa (Red Beard) and Cristiano di Magonza. From the 14th to the 17th Century, Ancona experienced the most prosperous and outstanding period of its history, adding to the urban fabric with remarkable monuments. An important town belonging to the Papal State, Ancona experienced a considerable economic and demographic decline from the mid 17th to the 18th Century, regaining its splendour when it was declared a free port by Pope Clement XII in 1732, the same year that saw architect Luigi Vanvitelli begin construction work on the impressive Lazzaretto (Lazaret), now a symbol of the cultural rebirth of the town. Ancona played an important part in the patriotic unrest of the Risorgimento and, after the battle of Castelfidardo in 1860, the town became part of the Kingdom of Italy. Considerably damaged during World War I and most of all by the terrible bombings in 1943 and 1944, the town lost the majority of its historical districts situated around the port, on Colle Guasco, Colle dei Cappuccini and Colle Astagno. An industrial centre also involved in the tertiary sector, Ancona is now home to the most important fishing port on the Adriatic and to the maritime fishing Research Institute; it has been the venue for the International fishing fair for over fifty years. This is also where the Italian national association of the seawater fish towns was founded. But it is also a cultural and artistic town, as demonstrated by the collection of paintings preserved in the Municipal Pinacoteca art gallery, and a university town – as can be seen from the Villarey ex military barracks now refurbished and transformed into the Faculty of Economics and Business. Ancona has always been a strategic junction towards the East: it has very close relations with the Greek port of Patras. After the geopolitical changes of the last ten years, Ancona has remarkably expanded, thanks to its location in the centre of the Adriatic: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania consider Ancona a strong landmark for Europe.