De’ Medici fortresses

Approaching by ferry to the harbour of Portoferraio, you can glimpse the charm of the majestic complex of De’ Medici fortifications, that enclose in walls the harbour and the ancient city of Portoferraio in a suggestive glance. Wanted by the Tuscan Grand Duke Cosimo I de Medici, with the consent of Charles V, King of Spain, who exercised an active protection of the Principality of Piombino, of which the Elba Island was part, in April of 1548 started the majestic monumental works that would defend the city from the continuous attacks and invasions, very common at the time.

The project of De’ Medici fortresses, was entrusted to the architects Gian Battista Camerini and Bonucci who was succeeded later in the direction work, by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti.

Concluded the construction of field defenses of Fort Falcone and Fort Stella, as well as the Tower of Linguella in 1555,on continued with the construction of the fort bastions of Fort Terra for a stretch along about 500 meters.

The Medicean bastions were built on four levels (Bastion "Veneziano", "Casino di Mezzo", "the balls", and "the Crow"), and this structure ensured a secure protection against attacks that could come from the "Porta a Terra ", that was at this time separated from the rest of the island by a moat that covered from the current Dock of the High Backdrop to the Ghiaie beach and was crossed by a small bridge.

Between Fort Falcone and Fort Stella was erected, the bastion of the Mills, to strengthen the natural defense that offered steep cliff overlooking the sea and takes its name from the presence of two ancient windmills area. Three other bastions, were built to follow between the Fort Stella and the Tower Linguella ( "the Pagliai", "Major" and "San Cosimo).On the side that looked at the dock,was erected a huge and high wall was erected, which ended to close the entire fortress in the city where the only entry point was that in the Porta a Mare.

The visit path, at the De’ Medici fortresses, winds through the Fronte di Attacco, a set of bastions which develops to a length of about 500 meters and close to the West in the ancient
Cosmopolis, the city of Cosimo. An impressive architectural complex, majestic and rational above all safe enough to put you off, already in 1553, an attempted attack by the dreaded pirate turkish Dragut who come to Elba with many ships commissioned by the French, after carefully studying the defensive front, judged it invulnerable.

Informazioni sulla visita alla Fortezze Medicee



Da Piazza Cavour nel centro storico di Portoferraio, situata alle spalle dalla Porta a Mare, percorrete in salita Via Guerrazzi, dove sulla sinistra prima del tunnel in discesa è situato l'ingresso ai bastioni medicei.


Dal 30 Marzo al 10 Giugno e dal 27 Agosto al 4 Novembre
Tutti i giorni dalle ore 10:00 alle ore 18:40

Dall' 11 Giugno al 26 Agosto
Orario 10:00-20:00 (la biglietteriaq chiude 40 minuti prima)

Luogo e Info

Centro storico di Portoferraio

Cosimo de Medici Srl Tel.(+39) 0565.9444024


Linguella Tower

Linguella Tower

Also known as a Martello Tower is recognizable for its octagonal shape that dominates the entrance to the port of Portoferraio.

Fort Falcone

Fort Falcone

Impressive De’ Medici fortification that dominates the historic center of Portoferraio.

Fort Stella

Fort Stella

With star-shaped plant, it is located above the ancient city of Portoferraio and is one of three main structures of De’ Medici fortresses.

English Fort

English Fort

Wanted by Cosimo III, it was built in 1700 and during his troubled history various names have been assigned.

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