A foretaste for who arrives and soon leaves Portoferraio. Few steps towards the so-called “Molo del Gallo” and the Medicean marina offering a breath-taking view: a blue sea and history… in one word: Elba!
Who’s to say that Portoferraio is just a docking bay? We get off the ferry and find ourselves in the lively dock which represents the hub for all destinations starting from Elba Island. We have little time but it is enough for a foretaste of history. Portoferraio is rich in view-points overlooking the sea, indeed.
After coasting down the slopes of the Medicean Bastions, we arrive at “Molo del Gallo”. The view is magnificent. From the almost blinding blue sea, it appears, as a red coral, the so-called “Torre della Linguella”, also known as “Torre del Martello”. The landscape is unparalleled even behind us. From the peak of the dock, it is clearly visible the shape of “Forte Stella” which dominates the northern cliffs.
The closeness between the sea and the city centre is what makes Portoferraio renowned.
In fact, it is possible to reach “Le Ghiaie” beach in just five minutes from the docking bay: a blue sea, natural beauties and little restaurants on the sea shore where you can enjoy Elba salt air and sun.
Until the second half of the 18th Century, the Linguella tower (also known as the Torre del Martello, or Hammer Tower, due to its shape) was mainly used for storing salt and for processing the annual tuna catch, then it was converted into a prison.
The star shaped and red brick fort dominates the northern cliffs of the Gulf of Portoferraio.
The town’s defences were gradually reinforced from 1570 onwards, even under the direction of Bernardo Buontalenti, and were used to provide accommodation for the armed forces as well as important look-out posts.