Ancona Cathedral (Cathedral of San Ciriaco) is up there, on top of the Colle Guasco guarding from above the city and the port the city of Ancona. Come here for the sunset time and you will see the red sun disappearing behind the ships of the port and the last houses of the coast.
For those born in Ancona the Cathedral of San Ciriaco (or Duomo of Ancona) is one of those places that stay in the heart for its beauty.
A temple is here since ever but under a different aspect.
The first structure that was built, in fact, is the temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite around the III century B.C. whose origins are still shrouded by mystery; it is probable that it was dedicated to Aphrodite Euplea, the patron of navigation who from up this hill could have observed and protected the sailors who sailed from the port of Ancona.
What we do know with certainty is that here there was definitely a temple as both Juvenal and Catullo talk about it in their works.
Over the years the temple of Aphrodite, of which you can still see the foundations, has become the Basilica of San Lorenzo. We are in the IV century A.D. and the ancient classical temple takes the form of an early Christian Basilica built in three naves.
A few centuries later (X-XI century A.D.) Ancona will become a maritime republic and to celebrate these new robes the city choses the Basilica of San Lorenzo as his main cathedral and it placed here, in 1017, the body of San Ciriaco and San Marcellino who still lie in the crypt dedicated to them.
Between the XIII and XIV centuries the church was dedicated to Saint Ciriaco, patron of Ancona, bishop of Jerusalem and martyr who died after suffering severe torture, under the Emperor Claudio Flavio Giuliano.
The facade of the Ancona Cathedral is in Roman-Gothic style and was built with the beautiful white Conero stone: if you are lucky enough to be able to look at the Duomo from the sea you will find that its color makes it look a little gem on top of the green Colle Guasco.
Two lions stand guard near the gate in red marble from Verona. If you pay attention the backs of lions are completely smooth and shiny, do you know why?
Because every child of Ancona, at least once, has stood astride the back of the red lions of the Cathedral.
Entering in the Church you will notice that its plant is as a Greek cross. Its main entrance is facing the harbor that has been in the centuries a source of wealth and prosperity for the city of Ancona.
Now, look for the painting of the Madonna del Duomo kept inside the marble shrine built by Vanvitelli: it seems that this miraculous painting of the Virgin has opened her eyes and she has smiled thus protecting Ancona from looting of Napoleon’s troops in the late 1700s.
Close to the Ancona Cathedral you can visit the Diocesan Museum.