When we Marchigians go to the big city, we mean Ancona, the capital of our region. With around 150,000 inhabitants, it is also the largest municipality in the Marche. Not everyone likes this port city (refer to our post about 24 Hours in Ancona to find our that I was among these people) but these might be those who can’t get past the port or just see the shopping street. Because only a few know, for example, the Roman or the medieval part.
Ancona wants to be discovered! And so we have already created several articles about Ancona, for example a suggestion of what to do in Ancona in one day, one about the friendly tourist office in the city center, about San Ciriaco, the Patron of Ancona, or about the Passetto, the beach of the Anconetans and the unique Museum Omero, where you can touch everything exposed!
This time we’re taking you to the Parco del Cardeto, the 35-hectare green lung of Ancona! My co-blogger Isabelle recently went there with her hiking group.
The park, which served as a military compound for years, opened its doors to the public in 2005. A total of 5 entrances have been created over the years, with Isabelle’s hiking group entering the park from the end of the Via Panoramica.
During the Napoleonic period (late 18th/early 19th century) a military bastion was built here, which was part of a defensive belt of 14 forts. During a walk you will come across the remains of these fortifications from time to time.
The name Cardeto has its origins in the plant cardo (cardoon or thistle), which is very common here. Since nature was largely left alone during the military years, there are also numerous other plants, such as wild daffodils or purple-flowered Judas trees (Cercis siliquastrum).
When you stroll through the park,
you eventually get to the sea with the most wonderful views!
Halfway there, a particular bronze sculpture stands out: La Porta del Mu (the Mu Gate), created in 2004 by the Anconetan artist Florian Ippolito. Obviously a popular photo spot!
Finally, the hiking group approaches the most extraordinary attraction of the park: the old Jewish cemetery. On a spacious meadow you can see numerous white tombstones. This Jewish cemetery was located here between the 15th and 19th centuries. 178 stones have survived the centuries, but many have also been destroyed by the ravages of time.
All the stones are oriented, often in groups, to the east, towards Jerusalem, and the dead were given a wonderful spot overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
In the distance you can still see all sorts of former military buildings, some of which have been restored. Although there were various ideas to set up museums etc. there, they do not seem to have been realized to this day.
The park spreads over 2 hills: Monte Cardeto and Monte Cappuccini. Isabelle and her hiking friends reach Monte Cappuccini, where, via the 16th-century Bastion of San Paolo, they finally reach the English Cemetery (dating from the first half of the 19th century), where Protestant and Anglican deceased are buried. Unfortunately it is not open to visitors.
Gradually the group approaches the old lighthouse of Ancona, which offers a view of the port of Ancona and the city itself. Between 1860 and 1965 it served as a beacon for sailors. Nowadays, numerous events take place here during the summer, which you can find out about on the Ancona Today website.
The remains of the Roman amphitheater are also clearly visible.
From here you can still go to the lighthouse or exit the park via Via Dispizio. If you want, you can also go to the amphitheater. Shortly before, below the park walls in Via Birarelli, a memorial plaque catches the eye: Here stood a bunker in which about 700 people lost their lives in 1943 when the city was bombed by American allies (at that time the Italians under Mussolini were still collaborating with Germans). It is said that a pupil from the neighboring school was not allowed to go into the bunker during the air raid as punishment, but had to stay in the school. She was the only one in her school to survive this catastrophe.
Park opening times (depending on sunrise and sunset):
From November 1st to March 31st: 7.00/7.30-19.30-20.00
From April 1st to October 31st: 7.00/7.30-20.30/21.00
Maybe the map below will help you to get an overview:
Here are the coordinates of the starting point of the hike.
Really an ideal place if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the port city of Ancona!