PORTO SANTO STEFANO
A summer escape for Rome’s historic elite, the stacked waterfront of Porto Santo Stefano is a secluded taste of idyllic southern Tuscany. Physically closer to Rome than Florence, the city is strung to Italy’s western coast by two sandy harnesses, and sits on the unqiue peninsula of Monte Argentario - which was once an island. Flamboyant pink flamingos and herons stroll through the encased lagoon, while Porto Santo Stefano’s waterfront hums with clinking cafes and strolling visitors. The luxury yachts in the harbour show that Porto Santo Stefano has lost none of its luxury appeals, and with beaches, wild hikes and waterfront beauty, it continues to lure visitors to this secluded escape.
Known for its fishing and cuisine - which is based around heavy use of the Tyrrhenian Sea’s juicy bounty. Stroll to Piazza dei Rioni for a dripping lemon gelato, or wander the streets noticing the lingering World War II damage – the city was heavily bombed during the conflict. Fortunately, the historic, star-shaped, Spanish fort was spared, and it still watches out resolutely over the waters. Built during the Napoleonic Wars, it fortified the exposed town against pirate raids, and offers beautiful views over the old town's terracotta roofs.
Rugged coastline falls to secluded beaches, with a wilder, unkempt charm. Sail the coves - seeing cascading olive groves - or island-hop to Giglio and Giannuti, which lie 12 miles from shore, and can be seen from the monastery topped Argentario mountain. On the other side of the promontory, you’ll find Porto Ercole - where the lifeless body of the Old Master, Caravaggio, was discovered.