Romanesque Cathedral of San Ciriaco on the Guasco hill
Greek colonists exiled fromSyracusefoundedAnconain 390 BC. In fact the name of the town comes from the Greek word “Ankon”, meaning "elbow", due to the shape of the bay.Anconais also called “Dorica”, which is a reference to the "Dorians", the settlers who arrived from the Greek mainland.
The town became a Roman “municipium” in 295 BC and its name was latinised to Ancon or Anconae. In the second century AD, the emperor Trajan enlarged the port and a triumphal arch was built in his honour.
After the Byzantine period, during whichAnconawas part of a maritime Pentapolis dependent onRavenna, the town came under the dominion of the Church but maintained its autonomy by paying annual duties. In 1532 Pope Clement VII (Giulio de' Medici) ordered the military occupation of Ancona, annexing it to theChurchState. In 1860,Anconabecame part of the KingdomofItaly. It was severely damaged by bombing during both World Wars.