The Ancona originated in the Marche region of Italy. It was bred to its present type mainly in the United Kingdom in the 19th century. It is named after the city of Ancona, capital of the Marche. It is popular in Britain and the United States, but not very common in Italy.
The Ancona is a good layer of white eggs with an average of 220 per year The eggs weigh 50g or more. Hens have little tendency to broodiness. Pullets may begin to lay at 5 months. It is a typical Mediterranean breed, rustic, lively and hardy.
The plumage of the Ancona is black mottled with white. Approximately one feather in three has a v-shaped white marking at the tip. All primaries, sickles and tail-feathers should have white tips. The black feathers may have a beetle green tint. In Italy, blue mottled with white is also recognised in full-size birds, but not in bantams.
The legs are yellow mottled with black, the beak yellow with some black markings on the upper mandible, and the eye orange-red. The skin is yellow, the ear-lobes white or cream-coloured. The comb is of medium size, with five well-marked points; in hens it should fall gracefully to one side. In the United Kingdom and in the United States, but not in Italy, a rose comb is permitted.