The village of Porto Ercole
Municipality of Monte Argentario
Province of Grosseto
Altitude centre: 5 m a.s.l.
The Municipality is part of:
I Borghi più belli d'Italia
Strada del Vino e dei Sapori Colli di Maremma
Porto Ercole is a pretty seaside resort located on the Argentario promontory. Its history began as early as the Etruscan era, as evidenced by the numerous artifacts found in the surrounding areas.
Hereafter, the small Etruscan centre was conquered by the Romans and transformed into a port (a pillar of the time was found in the port). It is assumed that the bastion of Santa Barbara had been a Byzantine lighthouse. In the XV century the port was bought by the powerful Republic of Siena, which strengthened the existing medieval building, lifted up the walls that still today surround the village (an important trace is the Gothic portal under the bell tower) and built some of the coastal towers which still endure on the argentarina coast. With the defeat of Siena and France, the Port was annexed to the new State of the Presidi of Spain, established by the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. Spain took care of the port fortification, expanding the Rocca Senese and building three other forts: Forte Filippo, Forte Stella and Forte Santa Caterina. With the good Spanish government, Porto Ercole reached its greatness and became a port at European level. According to the official theory the famous painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio passed away here, on 18th July in 1610.
The patron saint of Porto Ercole is Sant'Erasmo (also known as Sant'Elmo), a bishop who accomplished the famous miracle in this village, calming the storm while the local fishermen went for the usual hold.
The feast is celebrated on 2nd June. A very characteristic thing is the sea procession that takes place every year with a different fishing vessel that carries the statue with the relics of the saint.
NOTE: distances are set as the crow flies.