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The History of Ancona Port

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Luxury yacht manufacturers ISA Yachts take you through a history of the Italian port of Ancona and how its Italian shipyard and others came to be.

East of the Apennine mountains on the Adriatic Coast is the city of Ancona. The central Italian seaport and its shipyards boast a long and colourful history and in recent years has grown in size and importance. With a population of more than 100,000, Ancona's busy port originated from humble beginnings to become the modern capital of its eponymous province.

Its location on a stretch of coast 280km northeast of Rome and nestled at the foothills of the Monte Conero, Monte Astagno and Monte Guasco has allowed Ancona to become a key centre of maritime activity and commerce for Italy. However its potential was originally recognised by Greek settlers from Syracuse in approximately 387 BC.

It is these few Greeks who are responsible for the city’s name as it is known today. Ancona’s etymology is said to be linked to the ancient Greek term Αγκων, which translates as elbow. The city’s founders originally named it thus because of the unusual peninsula to the north whose shape resembles an elbow and which protected the coastline allowing the local citizens to successfully build a harbour.

Ancona Mole Vanvitelliana

From a modest fishing village, the city was converted into a naval station during the time of the Illyrian War in 178 BC. From this era onwards Ancona grew in stature and importance as an imperial harbour, being the nearest Italian port to Dalmatia. Roman Emperor Trajan ordered the construction of the north quay in 100 AD, charging his trusted Syrian architect Apollodorus of Damascus. In recognition of the faith imparted to him, Apollodorus commissioned the conception of a marble triumphal single archway in the Emperor’s honour. Trajan’s arch stands today, serving as a symbol of the port and its heritage.

Its history throughout the first millennium was characterised by a local rivalry with Venice, often descending into battle. Since then however, Ancona has enjoyed a more peaceful existence primarily functioning as a port for trade and more recently overseas tourism with an ideal location for commercial affairs between Italy, Croatia, Greece, Albania and Montenegro.

Today Ancona stands as central Italy’s key ferry port offering daily connections to a range of Adriatic destinations. Indeed every year the port of Ancona is responsible for the influx and outsourcing of more than one million passengers.

Porto ancona

The port has also proved popular with luxury yacht manufacturers in recent times, chosen for its ideal location and strong economic position within Italy. One success story in this new wave of luxury industry trade in the port of Ancona is ISA Yachts, specialists in the design, construction and refit of superyachts over 24 metres.

Spread across two private shipyards measuring 54,000m2 the facilities in Ancona allow ISA Yachts to produce more than 9 vessels simultaneously. ISA Yachts are just one of a list of several naval enterprises flourishing in the port of Ancona including Ferretti Group, a multinational shipbuilding and yacht charter company specialising in luxury yacht design and sale, and CRN, an 80,000m2 shipyard founded in Ancona.

The arrival of this new luxury trade continues to shape the culture of this ever-evolving port. With an intent to increasingly diversify and welcome more maritime commerce to the city, Ancona is set for a future as colourful as its past.

*Image credits: Wikimedia & ISA Yachts

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