The Mole Vanvitelliana of Ancona, also called Lazaretto of Ancona, located in the harbour area of the city, is a building commissioned by Pope Clement XXII (whose statue can be seen in the nearby "Piazza del Plebiscito") and designed by Luigi Vanvitelli between 1733 and 1743.
The architectural shape of the Mole has become one of the symbols of Ancona: it is a pentagonal island, connected to the mainland by two bridges.
Initially, the building served as a leper hospital, where people and goods arriving by sea from the East were quarantined, in order to prevent the spread of unknown epidemics.
The Mole Vanvitelliana was used also as a military defense for the harbor and the city, and over time it was also used as a military hospital, barracks, sugar refinery and storage for drying tobacco.
Fully restored, now it is a great cultural centre of Ancona. Inside, events, exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances and other shows follow one another, thanks to the modern exhibition halls and to the conference areas.
However, it is especially in the summer, when the public can enjoy the courtyard, that the Mole enliven, thanks by the main events: "Ancona Jazz Summer Festival", "Lessons of History" and "Adriatic Mediterranean Festival".
The Mole Vanvitelliana also hosts the Tactile Museum "Omero" (Museo Tattile Statale Omero), one of the few museums in the world dedicated to the blind and to all those who want to "explore the art" through their sense of touch.