Soltur Places - Porto Azzurro
Porto AzzurroThe new name for Portolongone, Porto Azzurro, is Elba gracious living-room, set at the foot of the promontory that culminates at The Fortezza di Longone, also known as San Giacomo. The small tourist port center, located in a protected inlet, is the largest on the west side. It was used as a natural port of call for Tyrrhenian maritime routes way back in ancient times. Porto Azzurro has a truly picturesque aspect with its quaint pastel houses that frame the port and where an old roman pier has recently been constructed. Chacterized by its narrow hilly streets and numerous charming corners that open into the lively Piazza Matteotti, where the light of the setting sun is mirrored in the surrounding sea, Porto Azzurro represents the heart of the Elban way of life. Definitely worth a visit are the two forts, San Giacomo and Focardo, built by Filipo II of Spain as part of a defensive system in the gulf of Mola where the Spanish fleet was based. It was annexed to the kingdom of Naples in 1714 until 1801 when it was ceded to the French, who by then occupied the whole of Tuscany. In 1815, after the fall of Napoleon, control passed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until the advent of a united Italy. From the 18th to the 19th century, together with Portoferraio and Marciana Marina, it was the largest fishing center on the island, favoring a continued immigration, right up to the recent present, of fishermen hailing from Genoa, Naples and the isle of Ponza. As well as seaside tourism, the area has a not so marginal agricultural activity that exists primarily in the plains of Mola and the valleys of Monserrato and Reale. In this beautiful countryside you'll find many vineyards and orchards. Of particular interest, only 3 km from the town, is the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Monserrato, built by the Spaniards in memory of the famous sanctuary near Barcelona.
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