Located on the Adriatic coast, the city of Ancona is the capital of the Marche region in central Italy. Its port is one of the most important in the Adriatic for passengers, freight and fishing, while the city itself is built on two surrounding hills—forming a kind of natural amphitheatre. To this day, the harbour remains central to the economic activity of the city. Ancona has just over 100,000 inhabitants and the population has been fairly static for more than fifty years. Yet despite a relatively low population density (815/km2), Ancona has witnessed fast, low-density building development, which has provided a number of challenges in terms of regeneration.
The city is complex, dynamic and culturally active. It is also gradually changing—which in turn has created a number of issues from the social and environmental point of view. Its population is generally older than the national average for Italy. In terms of infrastructure, Ancona has its own airport and the main railway station is served by both regional and long-distance trains, providing connections with other major Italian centres. Ancona also has a wealth of history, having originally been founded by Greek settlers in about 387 BC. It later became a Roman colony and was of particular significance given its sheltered harbour and geographical location.
However, Ancona has suffered a number of natural disasters in recent times, notably a major earthquake in 1972 and a landslide in 1982, with the latter affecting 11% of the urban area of the city. The result is that large sections of the area are now covered by a complex monitoring and alert system.
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