With more than twelve thousand inhabitants, Portoferraio can be considered the undisputed “capital” of the island. The current city was built in 1548 on the ruins of Fabricia, which was the ancient Roman name for the town. Much of the Portoferraio, Italy tourism is directed towards the exploration of the ancient Roman villas and caves. It is also famous for the legacy of Cosimo I de ‘Medici, the Florentine lord, from which the name “Cosmopolis” was born.
The most important fortifications of the city are Fort Stella, Fort Falcone and the recently restored English Fort. The English fort is evidence of Napoleon’s imperial presence. In the beautiful harbor of Portoferraio you can visit the Martello Tower, which is actually the entrance to the old port. There are also a number of other forts and buttresses that were part of the unprecedented, complex defense structure that is considered a masterpiece of military architecture.
The city of Portoferraio has become a great tourist attraction. This is probably due to the almost completely intact ancient urban structure, which was maintained in part because of its recent history as a center of the steel industry. The restorations of the surrounding fortresses conducted in recent years have helped it retain its classic charm while catering at the same time to the modern tourists.
If you arrive by the Portoferraio ferry, the first thing that welcomes you will be the Martello Tower. It represents the first of many fortifications and gives way to a broad bay shaped like a horseshoe, which is the central port of the city. The port, called the Darsena Medici, is a very secure area and is therefore classified as a “port of refuge”. Precisely for this reason, on days of strong wind and rough seas, vessels of considerable tonnage will drop anchor in the marina and wait for better weather in order to continue sailing. At the center of the marina lies Porta a Mare, which is the entrance to the historic city center. The city then branches around the bay in a crown of pastel-colored houses that follow the perimeter of the ancient walls.
Surrounding the port is the picturesque old town of Portoferraio. Visitors will enjoy beautiful views of the Portoferraio beaches, cheerful and lively bars, quaint traditional restaurants, specialty shops, charming boutiques, and the traditional indoor market where supplies for the galleys of ships are purchased. You can find a great Portoferrario, Italy hotel right in the center of the old town. There are several attractions that you can visit in the city. For example, you can visit the historical residence of the Mulini, the Napoleonic theater called “Dei viglilanti,” the Archaeological Museum of Linguella, the Pinacoteca Foresiana, the fantastic church Chiesa della Misericordia, the Fortresses of Stella and Falcone, and the cherry on top of the cake: The English Fort.