Ancona was founded by Syracusan colonists around 390 BC. It was taken by Rome in the 2nd century BC and became a flourishing port, particularly favoured by the Roman emperor Trajan, who enlarged the harbour. Constantly raided and under assault by Goths, Lombards, and Saracens, Ancona declined but recovered its importance in the Middle Ages. Ancona was one of the 5 cities of the Maritime Pentapolis under the Byzantine exarchate of Ravenna. The seat of a Carolingian march (frontier borderland), became a semi-independent republic under papal control. In 1532 direct papal rule was established and, with the exception of a period of French domination, was maintained until Ancona became part of Italy in 1860. The city was bombarded by the Austrian fleet during World War I and suffered severe damage from Allied bombings during World War II.
Notable landmarks, restored since the war, include the marble Arch of Trajan; the 11th- to 12th-century Church of Santa Maria della Piazza and the 12th- to 13th-century Cathedral of San Ciriaco. Originally, the harbour was protected only by the elbow-shaped promontory from which the Italian city takes its name (angkon in Greek means elbow), but now has modern installations built since World War II, including a petroleum refinery.
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica