Digest>Archives> November 1998

The Ancona Lighthouse


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The new Ancona Lighthouse, which replaced the old ...

The original Ancona Lighthouse in Ancona, Italy may well be the only lighthouse in the world donated to the people by a Pope.

It was back in 1860 that Pope Pius IX donated the original Ancona Lighthouse to the city and people of Ancona. It was in the reign of Pope Pius IX that the Vatican history changed forever. When Pope Pius refused to join in the war against Austria, radicals stabbed his Prime Minister in 1848 and the Pope barely escaped with his life, However, in 1849 a French Army restored papal authority to Rome and the Pope returned on 1850. However, by 1860, most of the papal states were wrestled from his control. When the French left in 1870, the Piedmontese moved in and Pope Pius IX confined himself to the Vatican causing strained Itilo-papal relations which lasted until 1929.

The greatest events of Pope Pius IX reign were, when in 1854, he declared it a dogma that Mary was conceived without original sin and the creation of the First Vatican Council. Just why the Pope donated the lighthouse is unknown, but during those turbulent times there could have been a number of reasons.

The city of Ancona on the Adriatic coast was a flourishing port as far back as the Middle Ages. The city was built on a picturesque amphitheater that surrounds the port. The original lighthouse was replaced by a newer lighthouse in the 1970's which is still a manned station with a keeper. The old tower has been restored by the Italian State Department of the Arts, however is located within a military zone and visitors must get a special permit to visit the lighthouse.

This story appeared in the November 1998 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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