Things to do in Porto Ercole: visit the hamlet and the fortresses

March 5, 2013

Porto Ercole is a small village in Tuscany, who reveals himself in the eyes of visitors as a characteristic harbor, marked by wind and sea. The beauty of this hamlet, located in the municipality of Monte Argentario, is equal only to the fortresses that surround it, ancient defensive ramparts dating back to the days of Spanish dominion.

The harbor, where bars and restaurants are interspersed with terraces overlooking the sea and shops made by former warehouses of fishermen, is the ideal place for a walk, especially during summer. Porta Pisana (Via Ricasoli) leads to the oldest part of Porto Ercole, at the southern end of the bay, the hub of a network of alleys that lead to the church and then to the Rocca. The oldest church, of eighteenth century origin, is at the top of the town.

Around Porto Ercole there are Forte Filippo, Forte Stella and the Rocca, which for centuries had been the defensive ramparts of the small village against anyone who wanted to make raids and incursions, from the sea and from land.

Forte Filippo was built with four bastions and is deeply embedded in a ditch dug in the rock. The only access point is represented by a drawbridge located on the east side. Today it is a private property, but you can visit the perimeter of the fort, from which you can also admire a beautiful view.

Forte Stella was built in 1557 and is famous for its unique star shape; the whole structure is surrounded by a moat and the only access point is formed by a drawbridge. Completely renovated recently, it is now used for exhibitions and events, and it allows to enjoy a wonderful view, too.

The Rocca can be visited with permission granted by the municipality of Monte Argentario. Visiting it, it's like walking into a Spanish citadel of the fourteenth century, where the narrow streets open into squares and courtyards. The whole structure is perfectly preserved and cared for. At the north end, where there was the oldest structure, another door opens and connects the Rocca directly with the village. Finally, from the outer walls, you'll experience a breathtaking view of the harbour, definitely not to be missed.

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