War, earthquakes and that transient feel all large port cities possess conspire to make ANCONA a less lovable city than others on the Adriatic coast. This busy ferry departure-point for Croatia, Albania, Greece and Turkey attracts an international fleet of fume-belching trucks that grumble through the port area night and day while lost arrivés clog up the station and insalubrious alleyways and derelict lots abound. But the centre does have a few historical saving graces embedded in its tangle of commercial buildings and the authorities are making an effort to improve the visitor experience. This may have attracted the handful of cruise ships that now call in here, discharging their crews and guests for a day’s wander through the tranquil old quarter and nineteenth-century shopping boulevards.

For many Ancona is a gateway to the Marche region thanks to Falconara airport, 10km away. There are also decent transport connections to much of Le Marche, though few would plump for the city as a base.

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