The Spanish Fortress ☀️ Porto Santo Stefano
- Category Environment and Nature
Argentario: History and what to see in the Spanish Fortress of Porto Santo Stefano, a landmark over the centuries.Number of views: 2012
Historical notes on the Spanish fortress of Porto Santo Stefano
The Spanish fortress is a coastal fortification located in a dominant position within the city of Porto Santo Stefano, capital of the municipality of Monte Argentario.
The complex was built by the Spanish between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, after Porto Santo Stefano became part of the State of the Presidis. The place chosen for the construction of the fortified defense structure had already been chosen by the Sienese for the construction of the tour of Santo Stefano during the 15th century.
Some building materials from the pre-existing tower were used, salvaged after its demolition, ordered by the Spanish as it was not considered to be up to the most effective coastal defensive system under construction.
Work, however, progressed slowly, ending in 1636 with some improvements following the development of a later project by military engineer Pedro Álvarez.
At the beginning of the 19th century, it was reinforced by the French to resist British assaults and following the unification of Italy, it continued to exercise military functions, becoming a strategic point during the First World War. After the Second World War, two parts of the factory were added as a terrace to house the municipal offices after the violent bombardments which had affected the structure.
In the second half of the twentieth century, a series of restorations were carried out which made it possible to restore the whole complex to its former luster and, since 1997, it has been used as a museum with exhibitions in the territory.
What to see in the Spanish fortress
If you enter by car in Porto Santo Stefano, you walk along the seafront until you reach Piazza dei Rioni, then, continuing on the slope of via Martiri of Ungheria , you reach the panoramic road seen, after turning left and driving a few hundred meters, you will find yourself in front of the base of the Spanish fortress.
The structure consists of two levels and rests on a square base of 35 x 35 meters.
The entrance is located on the upstream side and is constructed by a short, narrow staircase at the end of which is a drawbridge.
After the front door, there is a courtyard with the opening of a cistern in the center and on the sides the six rooms of the garrison.
Continuing on we have access to the terrace, in a dominant position over the port, where the stone circles are still preserved which allowed the rotation of the carriages of the 19th century guns.
By means of two lateral ramps, we go up to the upper floor or we find another terrace with four slits for the cannons which pointed towards the sea.
On the other side of the fort, towards the mountain, there are two superimposed walkways with small slits for small artillery.
The panorama that can be admired from its terraces is of unique beauty, moreover this historic building houses the permanent exhibitions of the Masters of the ax and "Submerged Memories" with some of the archaeological finds recovered in the waters of the Tuscan archipelago.
From 01 to June 30
every day 10.30am-12.30pm and 4-7pm;
From 01 to July 31
every day from 6.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m.;
From 01 to August 31
morning from Tuesday to Sunday 10:30 am-12:30pm;
afternoon every day from 6.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m.;
From 01 to September 30
every day 10.30am-12.30pm and 4-7pm;
From 01 October to 01 November
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.30am-12.30pm and 4-7pm;
From 02 November to 31 December
opening at the request of users by appointment to be agreed with the person in charge of the port pro-loco service
For more general information and prices: Comunemonteargentario.gov.it