Being the main city in our region, and also a busy port of call for many cruises, Ancona has lot to offer and now, a place to gather all the info as well! Indeed before some days ago, the only tourist office in Ancona was located in front of the port: comfy for the ferry/cruises’ passengers, but quite difficult to spot for everyone else. Luckily, the municipality understood the need for a tourist information center in the middle of the city and, together with the cooperative Agenzia Res, the historic kiosk in Piazza Roma is now a full working tourist office. The agency is made of young people dedicated to training, consultation and project training, and the name of the tourist office could not be anything else than L’ Edicola (newspaper booth)
It was inaugurated on Saturday, September 26, during which various free guided tours were immediately organized. My fellow bloggers, Isabelle and Elke, signed up for the tour of the Roman water reservoir.
During the inauguration day there were some speeches, lots of brochure and a dedicated postcard for the event.
The guided tour started at the stairs at the back of the fountain of Calamo, but after entering through a narrow and small passage, it was already time to dive into “Ancona Sotterreanea” (underground).
From the discovered Roman reservoirs it is understood that in Ancona there was already a great need for water in the ancient time. In 1400 this need turned into a complete underground water system with a new adaptation in 1800. It is suspected that the water came from, among other things, the Monte Conero, more specifically from a source near Sirolo, as certain tunnels had exactly the same construction in Ancona as those at the Monte Conero.
The Marchigian caving association discovered and explored a 4km long tunnel system and 15 wells and reservoirs. Unfortunately, no drawings or plans have survived. After all, water management was entrusted and this even until the 1930s to Fontanieri (fountain men) who knew the system by heart and passed it on orally. They removed the roots of plants from the ceilings, cleared limestone blocks and maintained the entire system.
The caving club was lucky enough to be able to interview another 95-year-old man who had been a fontaniero in his younger years and gave them certain tips.
The cistern appeared to be divided in 2, with panels with explanations.
This water reservoir already supplied the fountain of Calamo in Greco / Roman times, which was part of the city wall in the Middle Ages. In the 16th century it was replaced by the fountain of the 13 canelle.
The guide told the whole story of the water system, explaining that the underground Ancona tour finally takes place in larger cisterns and in a tunnel. The visitors are provided with boots and helmets, because then they go through the water.
The tourist office in Piazza Roma will be open every day, including Sundays and public holidays and even in winter from 10 am-1pm and 4.30pm-7.30pm. They will also provide tours with e-bikes, organize lectures and on the terrace you can consult the brochures and use the free WiFi. If you want to consume something, you can order a drink via an app at the bars in the area.