Soltur Places - Portoferraio
PortoferraioPortoferraio is situated on a spur of rock and surrounded by the Medicean Fortress that overlooks the town. With its natural and principal port,it is singled out as the capitol of the island and seat of most offices and public services. The center of principle communication, thanks to its numerous daily connections with Piombino, there are great numbers of tourists disembark here in search of a memorable vacation. Portoferraio was the center of the iron and steel industry in recent past, but the industry was dismantled following bombings during WWII and the town didnt develop a great propensity for tourism, and for this reason, it has remained almost untouched by time. The town offers a lovely place to visit thanks to a well-preserved historical center with little streets behind the port, the Piazza Cavour and Piazza della Republica, all the characteristic old buildings with flowering balconies,the narrow alleyways,and the panoramic squares that lead up to the Medicean fortifications. The Medicean city still holds tight to the memories from 1548 when the town was christened Cosmopoli in honor of CosimoI deMedici, who rebuilt and fortified the city after it was razed by the Saracens. Forte Falcone, Forte Stella and the Torre della Linguella were built from the plans of architects Camerini and Belluzzi, and thanks to them and the imposing wall, peace and safety returned to the citizens. The other historical aspect of Portoferraio is one bound to the presence of the emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who stayed here from 3 May 1814 to 26 February 1815, who left many important testimonies (180,000 in the world). During his (299) day stay, he had to content himself with a 8000 hectare training camp where he built his residence, Villa Dei Mulini, today a national monument situated at the summit of Portoferraio in a panoramic position between the forts Stella e Falcone. From here, one can take in a breathtaking view that includes the northwest coast and the coast of Tuscany. A magnificent building that symbolizes the public life of Napoleon, it takes it name from the mills in the area, and preserves some interesting artifacts including: the flag of the islandwith the three gold bees, the key to the city given by Mayor Traditi to the emperor and the incredibly well equipped library with over 1000 volumes furnished by Fountainblue. Villa S. Martino ( with Museum Demidoff) was Napoleons country residence located at the foot of the mountain by the same name, and less than 6 km from the center of town. From the inside one can view Napoleons bedroom decorated with the golden bees and stars from the legion of honor, the Egyptian room adorned with frescoes by Pittor Ravelli that illustrates the enterprising undertakings of the young emperor. After the death of Napoleon, Prince Anatolio Demidoff built an annex to the villa as amuseum to house the memorabilia of the emperor.
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