porto-ercole-1

It's amazing how two port that are so close to one another can be so different. Porto Ercole may be smaller than Porto Santo Stefano,  but it's far more vibrant, shunning the relaxed, homely atmosphere of its neighbouring port for high class restaurants and expensive boutiques.

Porto Ercole has one of the Maremma's best nightlife scenes.

Most of the time, but especially in the summer months, the town is more alive after dark than during the day as its chic restaurants, packed pubs and glitzy nightclubs buzz with activity.

Porto Ercole's locals are nothing like your typical and humble Maremman country folk.

These are people who know the fast life and joys of good food, stylish clothes and big, luxurious yachts. If you're looking for glamour and swagger, as well as the odd celebrity, you need look no further than Porto Ercole.

The town is also marked by a intriguing and macabre mystery that dates back centuries.

In the early 17th century, 1610 to be precise, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the Italian painter, took his last breath in Monte Argentario.

Centuries passed and no one could figure out why the renowned painter was in Monte Argentario and how or where he died. Some said he was murdered, others said he died on a beach in Feniglia. Some said he'd never even step foot in Porto Ercole.

It was only in 2011 that historians finally solved the mystery.

Caravaggio died of a mystery illness in hospital and was buried in the nearby cemetery in an unmarked grave. He was in Porto Ercole awaiting papal pardon for a murder he committed during a duel. Now isn't that something?

Sights

Chiesa di Sant’Erasmo

Dedicated to the patron saint of sailors, this church is perhaps the only one in the Maremma to be adorned with the exquisite tombstones of Spanish officials.

Palazzo del Governatore

Built in the 16th century as a home for the Spanish governors of the Stato dei Presidi, this palazzo has the most intricate and elegant facade.

Forte Stella

The only Spanish-built fortress that is open to visitors, Forte Stella boasts unbelievable seaside views.

Forte Filippo

Built around the same time as Forte Stella and designed by the same architect, this fort embodies the best of Spanish military architecture

Forte Santa Caterina

The least preserved fort, Forte Santa Caterina is the last of Porto Ercole’s forts and is privately owned. It’s still worth the walk through the countryside though.

Rocca Aldobrandesca

The oldest fortress on the Argentario Coast has been repurposed over the years as a jail and private holiday home. You can admire it from the outside only.

Events

Notte dei Pirati

May

For the Notte dei Pirati, Porto Ercole is transformed into a cove of treasure hunting pirates. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of!

Search