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The west coast of Italy is home to the Monte Argentario, a rocky peninsula joined with the mainland of Tuscany by golden swathes of sand. Porto Santo Stefano is the most illustrious of the ports resting on this fragile, yet beautiful divide. Both Italians and tourists alike flock to this idyllic coastline all year-round, looking to enjoy the peerless climate of Tuscany in superb style and serenity.
And when they visit Porto Santo Stefano, they get exactly that. This is not your average seaside town, as chic marinas have replaced the usual sight of kitschy cafes and souvenir stalls, instead offering up elegant waterfront eateries and bars in the Piazza dei Roni that are just as noteworthy as any of the trendiest hangouts in Florence and Rome.
A symbol of the port’s storied past; this imposing fortress overlooks the entirety of Santo Stefano from its domineering position atop the tallest hill in the city. It was originally built to control the port during Spanish rule in the 17th century, but its most intriguing aspect is the fact it has survived innumerable conflicts and changes of the guard, and remained in near-perfect condition throughout.
Today, you can visit the stone battlements of this huge stronghold and experience its haunting atmosphere as you wander the halls taking in the sights of medieval weaponry, rusted 18th century cannons, and suits of armour.
Convento dei Passionisti
High in the green hills of Monte Argentario, this centuries old convent lies between Port Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano. The Convento dei Passionisti is a revered landmark, loved for its incomparable view over the Ortebello lagoon just as much as the storied history it embodies.
There are no other houses in sight surrounding the convent, making its ambience even greater once you step inside. The varnished wooden beams and the beautifully detailed stone work are sights to behold, especially with afternoon sunshine streaming through the windows.
Isle di Giglio
Just an hour’s ferry ride away from the main harbour of Porto Santo Stefano, the island of Giglio is a locale of secluded villages and hidden coves. During the summer months, you are likely to see brave souls diving from its cliff faces into the turquoise waters below, not least because of the outstanding clarity of the seas lapping upon the shoreline.
Giglio castle dominates the skyline, inviting cruisers to get up close to its walls, while the Campese shoreline is an ideal place from which to see the unspoilt natural beauty of the archipelago.
Ortebello is a short drive away from Porto Santo Stefano, and offers an inspiring range of stores to choose from. You’ll find elegant fashion boutiques and intriguing curio shops clustered together in the central piazzas.
Il Veliero is an eatery where the seafood is as sumptuous as its view across the bay. Its outside terrace is perfect for enjoying fresh shellfish, crab, and prawn dishes, whilst taking in the breeze from the bay.
Discover some of the most beautiful spots in Italy!
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