Things to see
The multiple archeological finds ( vases, ceramics, jewels and numerous tomb artefacts found in the local necropoli) have made Numana one of the most important archeological sites in the Marches. They are exhibited at the Antiquarium. The two symbols of ancient Numana that can be seen today are the “Torre”, situated in one of the most picturesque spots in the area, and the “Costarella, a characteristic walkway that during the summer months becomes an open air stage for art exhibitions. Historical places to visit in Numana include the Bishops Palace, now Town Hall, the Crucifix that is preserved in the Santuario and the fountain in Via Morelli.
The Roman stones, “ chosen and ornate, fixed in its walls” are testimony to the buildings in the area constructed during the Roman era.
Today the significance of the Arch, refered to as La Torre, in Numana is not commonly known. Only the older members of the community recall that it was used as a watch tower for enemy ships during World War 1.
In 1930 it finally lost its original shape. The only piece left standing today is in the shape of an ogival arch.
The tower is probably the medieval remains of what was once a defensive fortress or church taking into account its key position.
In a manuscript belonging to the parish headed “Platea” ,an inventory of the Parish Church, it is written that the current Via della Torre was once called Via San Giovanni and that the Tower, “acted as a bell tower of ehich the lower section was the sacristy to the Church of the same name”. Therefore it can be said that what remains of the tower is the last trace of the ancient parish of Saint Giovanni.
The Costarella is the ancient street that the fishermen once took at dawn, in silence with their meager breakfast and tools, to reach the sea
The stairway symbolizes Numana and reflects the ancient identity of a town where the basic resource was fishing.
The Costarella is the name given to Via IV Novembre. It is a stairway that dates back to the beginning of the century leading through two rows of houses built with the local Conero stone. It is decorated with flowering plants for most of the year . During the summer, July and August, the street is transformed in to a natural stage for open-air art exhibitions, “ Art under the stars”. An annual appointment with local contemporary artists that is not to be missed.
View of the Tower and Gardens
From the Piazzetta della torre there is a wonderful view, over the port and the area of coast stretching from the Conero to Porto Recanati.There is an equally as beautiful view from the public gardens.
The gardens of Numana
The entrance to the gardens of Numana is from the main piazza. There are some wonderful views from the paths leading through the gardens. The view of the port is distinct against the green of the luxurious vegetation and the Conero headland, to the North, rises majestically out of the waters of the Riviera.
The Antiqaurium of Numana is situated inside a council building in the centre of Numana. It was opened to the public in 1974 with the main aim of exhibiting the artefacts found during excavations carried out between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s.
During this period more than 500 Piceno burial sites were uncovered as part of the necropolis in the area Quagliotti-Davanzali of Sirolo. As a result of these discoveries Numana was confirmed as being the most important Piceno centre of the protostorico age. The closing of the National Archeological Museum of Ancona, following the earthquake in 1972, led to the creation of a new museum at Numana.
In 1997 the Antiquarium of Numana requested funds both to modernize the exhibit building, and to rearrange and update the scientific organization of the material in order to better illustrate the important role played by Numana during the first millennium BC. The recent discoveries made in the necropolis confirm the important function that this natural shoreline had during the VI, V and IV centuries, all to the disadvantage of neighbouring Ancona. The new museum lay out illustrates the different cultural ages, (Prehistoria, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman), that took place on the Conero and gives a complete panorama of the important archeological remains found in Numana and in the Conero area, where there is proof of continuous human presence since the Paleolithic period.
The Museum highlights the importance of this ancient Piceno town with its necropolis that has revealed the largest number of tombs, over two thousand, in the whole region of the Marches, covering, from a chronological point of view, all the most important developments in the Piceno civilization. In the past Numana was an active trade town. This great wealth is reflected in the items uncovered in its necropolis, jewels, weapons, everyday objects and vases, bearing witness to the important role that the town played. There are precious finds belonging to the strong, fighting Piceno civilization that inhabited these lands during the Pre-roman period. These include daggers, lances, helmets, necklaces and bracelets alongside vases, bronze broches and ceramics that bear witness to the intense relatinships that the Piceno people had with the greeks, the Estruscans and the Italics.
Even though there is a lot yet to be studied It is possible to recreate the life, trade and customs of that time. The archeological finds are kept not only in the Antiquarium in Numana but also at the National Archeological Museum of Ancona and in prestigious museums worldwide. In the Metropolitan Museum of New York there is a greek style vase that comes from Numana.
The local museum has a very close relationship with the necropolis at Numana allowing for open air museum spaces and indoor exhibit halls. Currently the museum is exhibiting that refers to the important archeological find discovered at the “ I Pini” necropolis of Sirolo consisting of group burial ground where the Piceno Princess of Sirolo was buried with two carriages at the end of the VI century BC. Of the three necropolis in the area, (Quagliotti-Davanzali in Sirolo; the cemetery area-Montalbano di Numana; "I Pini" in Sirolo) only the necropolis at Pini is a museum. It is the only site in the Marches where you can visit a section of the necropolis with explanation panels positioned along the visitor route (see details).
Numana (Ancona) via La Fenice, 4 Tel. 071/9331162
Entrance price: entrance E. 2,00 adult, E. 1,00 reduced
Opening times: open 8.30 - 19.30
Description: Tomb from the end of the VI century BC.
Numana-Sirolo Archeological site
During the protostoric age Numana was an important Piceno centre that in the last decades of the VI century became an active emporium and one of the most important ports on the Adriatic for the importation and inland distribution of ceramics. The important role that Numana had during the V-IV century BC is een today in the rich archeological documentation that has been gathered regarding the pre-roman town and its necropolis, where more that one thousand burials sites have been discovered.
The populated area occupied the land above the port whilst the burial grounds were spread out over the smooth ridges of the hills, (Area Quagliotti Davanzali; Area I Pini; Zona di Montalbano - Cimitero di Numana). The site recently uncovered at I Pini is the only archeological area in the Marches where you can visit a section of a Piceno necropolis.
The uncovered site ( 60x50m) is equipped with explanation panels that show the various phases of the dig and the precious artefacts found inside the tombs. There are three group burial sites, one of these holds the “ tomb of the Sirolo princess” dated from the end of the VI century BC. This tomb is particulary interesting due a number of features,its structure, its funeral rites and its rich dowry. Discovered in 1989 it is the largest group burial site in the necropolis of ancient Numana. It covers a burial area over 40 metres wide surrounded by a circular ditch, dug in a V section, 4 metres wide and 2 metres deep. Within this large circle there is a group of burial graves. Three of these graves have the same deposition. At the centre of the group there is a large entrance tomb measuring 4x3x2m. There is no entrance door and only an artificial wooden cover supported by poles. A second tomb lies one metre to the East, it measures 5.10 x 2.20m x 2 m and holds two carriages, a parade carriage and a chariot under which there are human female remains adorned with rich ornaments. Further West there is a third, more simple grave, holding the skeletons of two horses or, more probably, mules. This burial structure can be compared with other Italian burial sites, for example those in the Lazio area (Roma Acqua Acetosa) Emilia Romagna (Verucchio e Casalecchio sul Reno) and other similair tombs in the transalpine area, such as the Vix tomb in Borgogne (France). The sacrifice of the horses is particularly interesting together with the coupling of two tombs with different funereal associations relative to the burial of one individual. The rich funeral artefacts found inside this large group tomb, everyday objects and precious items including bronze broches, weapons, jugs and vases, together with two carriages, a carriage and ( carpentum) and a chariot ( currus), obviously belonged to a female who was part of the social and economical elite of the Piceno town. The tomb of the queen of Sirolo is an extraordinary source of knowledge and information as regards the history of Numana in general and especially the social status of women during the protostoric age.
Località "I Pini"
Open all year.
The Bishop’s Palace in the Piazza del Santuario
The bishop’s palace was built in 1773, at the request of Cardinal Bufalini, as a summer residence for the bishops of Ancona and as an factory and storage area for the harvests gathered from diocesan land. Its construction marked the beginning of an economical and moral rebirth for Numana, after the degradation caused by pillaging and the destruction caused by earthquakes during the middle ages. After the establishment of the Kingdom of Italy and the suppression of ecclesiastical possessions the building was acquired by the State and in 1911 handed over to the county council. It remained the council headquarters until 1928, when the town councils of Numana and Sirolo were unified.
The Frontalini accordion factory (1950)
In 1929 the bishop’s palace was used as a factory for accordion making. The building was given back to the Town Council in 1966 and underwent complete restoration. It was returned to its Town Hall status in 1983.
The S.S Crucifix of Numana
The modern church holds the Crucifix of Numana. It is one of the most enigmatic and beautiful masterpieces of Christian culture. The Sanctuary was built between 1561 and 1566. In October of the same year the Crucifix was moved to the new Sanctury accompanied by great festivities. The rectangular shaped Sanctuary was 20m wide and 22 m high. The interior plan was in the shape of a greek cross. The chapel, which housed the cross, was decorated with precious marble. Over the years the building underwent alterations, expansion works were carried out in the upper section to satisfy the living requirements of the Prior.
Over the years the temple became structurally unsafe. Any repair works would have been in vain. The only solution was to rebuild the whole building and works started in 1967. The new Sanctuary was opened on the 6th of July 1969. The semicircular shape, high bell tower and white panels in the apse are all designed with the aim of concentrating light onto the crucifix. The Sanctuary surprises us with two very different impressions of the crucifix. Entering from the small corridor to the right of the altar the face of Christ looks alive, eyes open, almost breathing. From the corridor to the left of the altar, we notice that Christ’s eyes are dull lifeless. From the 1600s up until 1928 Christ’s body was covered with a tunic. This “ sickness robe” was a tunic laid on the suffering body for three days in the hope of a recovery.
The legend of the Crucifix of Numana
The crucifix is Roman ( between the V and XII centuries) and of unknown origin (maybe Poland or Germany). It is carved in cedar wood, the tree that symbolizes the crucifix, is life size and has been recently restored. The workmanship is unusual, it represents a man on across with his eyes wide open but with the expression of suffering or death of the traditional iconography. It was a destination for during the XV and XVIII centuries and appeared on all the geographical maps of the period. The cross was given the name, “Crucifix of Sirolo”, as a result of Numana’s deterioration and the wealth of the nearby castle in Sirolo that accommodated the travelling pilgrims. Documents show that the crucifix was once called the “Crucifix of Numana”.
The crucifix is Roman ( between the V and XII centuries) and of unknown origin (maybe Poland or Germany). It is carved in cedar wood, the tree that symbolizes the crucifix, is life size and has been recently restored. The workmanship is unusual, it represents a man on across with his eyes wide open but with the expression of suffering or death of the traditional iconography. It was a destination for during the XV and XVIII centuries and appeared on all the geographical maps of the period. The cross was given the name, “Crucifix of Sirolo”, as a result of Numana’s deterioration and the wealth of the nearby castle in Sirolo that accommodated the travelling pilgrims. Documents show that the crucifix was once called the “ Crucifix of Numana”. According to legend the cross was carved by the Evangelist Luke and by Nicodemus soon after the burial of Christ. Once completed it was kept in the house of a Jew but it was soon discovered and damaged. It passed through many hands and finally found its way to Beyrot in Syria where it apparently varied out many miracles. It is said that the blood that flowed out of the wounds was collected in small bottles and sent to all the main cities. Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Carlo Magno, on hearing of the miracles visited Beyrot to pay homage to the famous cross. He decided to take it to Europe as a gift for Pope Leone III but during the journey his ship was hit by a storm and he was forced to dock at Numana. The cross was left in the Church of Saint John the Baptist. In the meantime the emperor had to go to Lombardia and then to France, for urgent diplomatic reasons, where he died in 814 AD. After his death the cross remained in Numana and was forgotten by his successors. In 846 AD Numana was struck by a terrible earthquake that destroyed most of the houses and the Church of Saint John. In 1924 some fishermen from Numana found the Cross at sea and, once they had released it from the flotsam, they took it to a chapel near to the city walls that had been saved from the earthquake. It stayed there until 1566.
The fountain of the Crucifix
The ancient fountain that once carried water from Mount Conero is on the right of the Sanctuary.The fountain dates back to the XVII century, even though the acqeduct itself is probably of the Roman-Piceno period. The acqeduct consists of a tunnel that leads to Capod’acqua in the borough of San Lorenzo di Sirolo and until recently carried water to Numana. Initially the fountain was situated in Via Morelli but it was moved at the beginning of the 1900s to make space for the road, The fountain was built with stones recovered before 1663, the year in which the inscription referring to the construction of the pipe was written. The fountain was requested by the people of Numana to quench the thirst of the visiting pilgrims. To the right of the fountain there is another plaque refering to the construction of the new Sanctuary and showing the old town council coat of arms. The water to the five mouths is fed from an ancient Roman water duct, that has been cleaned and leads as far as Capodacqua di Sirolo. On the left mouth of the fountain we read the words "Terme exaruit", refering to when the water source dried up, there is no date.
The Coat of Arms
The circular coat of arms is surrounded by the inscription, "Senatus Civitatis Numanae". There is a tower in the centre with the letters “T” and “C”, that some read as T(anta) C(ivitas), others as T(uta) C(ivitas) and others again as T(urrita) C(ivitas). The true meaning is unknown even though the most probable is “Tuta Civitas”, that is “ A protected City”. In ancient times the coat of arms carried the outline of a church, as seen on an old printing seal preserved in the Town hall, and from an old stone coat of arms set in the centre of the Fountain in Via Morelli.
In 1961 the image of the church was substituted with that of the tower on a blue background. On the top of the tower there is a crown and there are two branches of leaves surrounding it, one of laurel and one of oak.