Discoveries of prehistoric settlements confirm that Civitanova and its territory have been inhabited since the Palaeolithic period. The ancient inhabitants lived in the area around the mouth of the River Chienti (from the Greek Kleos, “the Glorious”), which was used as a landing stage for maritime trade.
In Roman times, the ancient Cluana developed near the river, which then known as Cluentum, and was part of the fifth Augustan region.
The city was later abandoned due to incursions by the Goths. The small town of Cluentensis Vicus, the present-day Civitanova Alta, was established on a nearby hill. Once the danger of Barbarian invasions had passed, life recovered around the parish church dedicated to St. Marone, the city’s present-day patron saint. A square-planned fortress was built in the 15thcentury, on what is now the site of part of the city hall, to protect the population that had returned to live and trade near the coast. The remains of the old walls and the corner ramparts can still be seen today. With the protection of this fortification, local inhabitants returned to live in the coastal town. Its first stone houses were built in the 17th century, remnants of which can still be seen in the narrow streets of the fishing village. Remains and traces of ancient Cluana were unearthed during various urban development works between 1926 and 1976 (in the Cecchetti area and San Marone district). These are now preserved in the sanctuary of San Marone and at the National Archaeological Museum of the Marches in Ancona. A Roman-period “cappuccina” tomb, which was recently discovered in Fontespina with a skeleton inside it, is displayed in a room at the “Luigi Pirandello” State Middle School in Fontespina. Traces of rural villas have also been found in the countryside surrounding Civitanova Marche and are now being examined under the guidance of the Marches Archaeological Department, thanks to photogrammetric surveys commissioned by the Municipal Administration on behalf of the local Archeoclub association.