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Tales of Brave Ulysses

19 August 2005

Grotta Azzurra dal Parco del Cardeto, near AnconaI had my Cream CD playing as I drove into Ancona, on the Italian Adriatic, and the above track started up just as the bay came into view. A wonderful choice – the place seems redolent of romance, an azure sea (not, so far, wine-dark), easy to imagine heroes arriving here, or of the sad defeated ones from Troy looking about for somewhere new to bring their Goddess and start again.

In fact, Ancona was founded by Greek settlers about 390 BCE, long after the Trojan war, and Greek merchants founded a Tyrian purple dye factory here (this is the dye so prized in antiquity for producing the Imperial purple and bright red colours).  Use of the Greek language here continued into Roman times, and the city had its own coin with the head of Aphrodite on the reverse.