The small seaside village of Porto Ercole offers its visitors pages of history mixed with modernity. Do you think that some of the Forts have become "condominiums" complete with intercom and electric gate. Yet they have retained their ancient charm, well preserved, perhaps thanks to those who made it their holiday home.
Forte Filippo is the sentinel that dominates the entire bay of the old port. Just before arriving in the village, an asphalted road will take you to the top. Go slowly and pay close attention to the vehicles that come in the opposite direction! The road is very narrow and winding. Alternatively, take a good half-hour walk! The panorama that you will enjoy in the last stretch will repay you for the effort.
Forte Filippo is a coastal fortification built in 1558 to improve the defensive system of the Presidi State. Its name was chosen in honor of King Philip II of Spain.
The fort was built with four bastions and is deeply embedded in a moat dug out of the rock. The only access point is represented by a drawbridge.
Unfortunately, you can only visit the perimeter, as the various buildings inside have been used as houses, but it is still worth it: the walkway on the walls is very suggestive.
A path leads to the Torre del Mulinaccio. It too was originally part of the defense system. It was later transformed into a windmill. The structure has almost completely collapsed, following the definitive abandonment of the mill. Worth a visit is the panorama of the Feniglia which can be enjoyed from here.
The Rocca Aldobrandesca
Its origins date back to 1074. In the second half of the sixteenth century it was annexed to the Presidi State integrating it into its defensive system.
It can be reached after crossing the inhabited center of Porto Ercole, continuing on the panoramic road. Leaving behind you the Porta Pisana (which leads to the old town), at the end of the climb you will find on the left the road that arrives at the entrance of the Rocca.
After the Second World War the fortress was definitively closed and sold to private individuals, who partially transformed the internal buildings into residential residences, while other rooms are owned by the municipality and among them there is the fortress proper where it was set up inside a museum. To visit the Rocca, the authorization issued by the municipality of Monte Argentario (in viale Caravaggio n.78, tel. 0564 831019) is required.
The visit inside will take you back in time. La Rocca is a real Spanish citadel of the 1500s: narrow streets, squares, courtyards. To the north, in the oldest part, another door opens (now closed) which connects it directly to the old village of Porto Ercole with a steep stone staircase.
Forte Stella was also built by the Spaniards in the second half of the sixteenth century, due to its location it was one of the strategic points of the entire defense system of the Presidi State.
Its shape is a six-pointed star. The whole structure is surrounded by a moat and the access door is preceded by a stone bridge which replaced the ancient drawbridge in modern times.
The natural lighting of the interiors is given by a hexagonal opening that opens in the center of the terrace on the top of the Fort. Inside, cultural exhibitions and reviews are held. His visit is allowed from Easter to June 30 on weekends and from July 1 to September 30 every day. The entrance ticket costs 2 euros.
It can be reached by taking the panoramic road, leaving the village of Porto Ercole behind you. After a couple of kilometers you will find a detour to the right for Forte Stella, right in front of the tourist area "Lo Sbarcatello". In the summer months you can reach it from the internal "overview" that begins just before the town, as access by car is allowed only to residents. You will however arrive at the foot of the steep road that leads to the Fort. It is generally closed with a bar but access on foot is allowed. You can leave your car in the dirt road near the slope.
Needless to say, the view from here is also wonderful: the tortoise-shaped islet is right below you!
Per la sua particolarità è stato scelto da sfondo anche per pubblicità televisive (TIM – Se mi prendi ti sposo) e per il cinema (l'ultima scena di “In viaggio con papà” mostra Sordi e Verdone sulla strada proprio sotto Forte Stella).
I have repeatedly named the State of the Presidia, obvious and obvious only for those who live in these parts. A historical clarification is necessary.
The Presidi State was a small territory created in 1557 by the will of Philip II of Spain, after the Treaty of London, and entrusted to the Spanish viceroys of the kingdom of Naples. It had a great strategic and military importance for the Spaniards who could find a safe harbor in the middle of the Italian peninsula and could control the Tyrrhenian Sea from there. In about fifty years ever more impressive fortification systems were built.
The most important garrison was Orbetello, with the Argentario promontory, where the most evident traces of Spanish domination are still present, consisting of numerous sighting towers and military forts.