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Forte Stella in Porto Ercole

Historical Buildings

The fortress overlooking the sea was built by the Spanish in 1500

A small fortress in the form of star overlooking the blue Tyrrhenian Sea, a nearly perfect building that it almost seems unreal, which, in reality, dates to the 1500s. This is Forte Stella, the fortification located in the municipality of Monte Argentario near Porto Ercole and which was built around the second the half of the 1500s by the Spanish.

To create the imposing structure, the Spanish turned to Cosimo I de’ Medici, who entrusted management of the work to the architects Bernardo Buontalenti and Giovanni Camerini. The project took a long time to be finished: Forte Stella was in fact completed only in the mid-1600s.

Forte Stella in Porto Ercole
Forte Stella in Porto Ercole - Credit: Matteo Vinattieri

Forte Stella was used mostly as a watch tower and still today visitors can witness a breath-taking view from the site. The panorama spans the coast running from the southern bank of the Argentario to the Capo Linaro promontory near Civitavecchia.

In the past, communications using visual signals could be sent from Forte Stella to nearby towers and fortifications dotted along the whole Argentario promontory, constituting a practically impregnable defense system.

Today, visitors can go inside the fortress and walk along the wall’s raised walkways. The building also often hosts contemporary art exhibitions.