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Porto Ercole


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The small village shows itself as a characteristic little port with ancient smells, with nets resting on the characteristic goiters and with the faces of the fishermen marked by the wind and the sea. It is a pretty seaside resort located on the Argentario promontory, whose housing nucleus is enclosed within the walls at the foot of the Spanish Fortress.
  • Sea village
  • Village with castle
  • Suitable for disabled people
  • Camper parking area
  • Most beautiful villages in Italy
Porto Ercole  | Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole
Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole  | Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole
Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole  |
Porto Ercole
Porto Ercole  |
Porto Ercole
Porto Ercole  | Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole
Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole  | Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole
Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole  |
Porto Ercole
Porto Ercole  | Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole
Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole  | Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole
Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole  | Comune di Monte Argentario
Porto Ercole
Comune di Monte Argentario
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Porto Ercole's boats  | Cristina Santoro  - e-borghi Community
#lucideiborghi Porto Ercole's boats
Cristina Santoro - e-borghi Community
Video by Alicia Cho

About the village

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.


"How ancient the land of Hercules is, everyone can understand this by its very same name", says an ancient document. "We rely on the port that has the name of Hercules", Rutilius Namatianus wrote in 416 A.D., and we almost forgot, in the sweet summer confusion, that from the sea came life but also fear and sometimes death, that had the appearance of Barbarossa and the Barbary pirates. The watchtowers along the coast and the Spanish fortresses on the hills seem to be the crown of a village reflected in the silver sea, where Caravaggio passed away on 18th July in 1610. What still survive here are the beaches that lap the promenade on the port, hosting the small boats that arrive for the winter. From here our look turns to the village, which is small under the imposing fortress from which the walls descend towards the sea. In the peaceful cove where sirocco beats, you can feel the smell of cliffs, distracted only by a seagull's turn. The American poet Robert Penn Warren wrote on Porto Ercole: "We conduced you to a place of stone, and sea coasts. / Rocca: fortress, hawk claw, paw of lion resting on a hill. / not even a hill but a sea cliff, perched stone watchtowers that dominate the beaches, / easy line of the most clever and sophisticated mathematician". Piazza Santa Barbara, which rises above the fifteenth-century bastion of the artificers' patron saint, offers a panoramic view on the port. The inside cavity served as a munition warehouse and allowed ships to load and unload by accessing directly from the sea. The Palazzo del Governatore overlooks the square, designed in Renaissance style by Baldassarre Peruzzi, and that later became the residence of the Spanish Government.

Discover the other villages on the guide Tuscany - Unique Villages to Love 

The village of Porto Ercole
Municipality of Monte Argentario
Province of Grosseto
Tuscany Region

Inhabitants: 12.660
Altitude centre: 5 m a.s.l.

The Municipality is part of:
I Borghi più belli d'Italia
Bandiera Blu
Strada del Vino e dei Sapori Colli di Maremma

BY CAR

  • For those coming from the south, take the highway to Tarquinia while those coming from the north, take the highway to Florence or Rosignano Solvay, those who leave Florence pass through Siena where there are 4-lane expansion works, while exiting in Rosignano it is convenient because the SS1 is a beautiful freeway with a limit of 110 km / h to Grosseto, and 90 km / h to the exit for Orbetello. From here continue to Porto Santo Stefano / Porto Ercole.

ON THE TRAIN

  • Orbetello Scalo railway station

BY PLANE

  • Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci airport

Sleep, eat, buy...

La Vecchia Dispensa
Ettore Ponticelli offers in his small shop first-pressing oil of excellent quality.
Via Italia in Montemerano, 31, Manciano (Grosseto)
34.35 Kilometers from Porto Ercole

Porto Ercole is present in issue 4 of our digital magazine e-borghi travel.
Read it now!

Events

wednesday
2
june, 2021

Sant'Erasmo

From the blog

10 villages overlooking the sea, 10 rare pearls of our italian landscape, 10 locations that can not be missed during the year of the villages. Ok, we have a lot of pearls in Italy but today we want to show you just some we believe are really worth visiting during the summer on the central coasts of our country. 1. Our tour starts from Tuscany with the hamlet of Giglio Castello, a fraction of the Giglio Island which is located in the highe...
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