Porto Santo Stefano
Porto Santo Stefano is one of the two urban centers in the Municipality of Monte Argentario. The other is Porto Ercole located on the opposite side of the peninsula. The town faces the gulf of the Giannella coastline. If you climb the west side of the Argentario headland you can see the islands of Giglio and Giannutri. As you approach the town from the provincial road you can sense its strong seafaring tradition, which locals proudly celebrate each year on August 15 with the much anticipated Palio Marinaro. The tradition dates to the 1950s but is rooted in ancient legends and historical events. The town’s four districts — Valle, Fortezza, Croce and Pilarella — face off in this rowing regatta, one of the longest in the world. As you can tell from all the fishing boats moored at the port of Valle near where the ferries depart for the islands, Porto Santo Stefano is an active commercial and tourist hub also known internationally for sailing and recreational boating. As you drive down into the town , the view opens onto the shipyards, the commercial port and the start of the beautiful promenade that leads to the Pilarella Marina where luxury yachts are docked. An aquarium featuring a typical Mediterranean seabed is located on the seafront Lungomare dei Navigatori waterfront designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Towering over the town is the imposing Fortezza Spagnola (Spanish fortress), built at this height to guard over the port during Spanish rule in the 17th century. The building is in perfect condition and houses the permanent exhibition Memorie Sommerse e Maestri d’Ascia (Sunken Memories and Axe Masters). Visitors can admire a beautiful view from its terraces. There are also several hiking trails and scenic roads from which to admire medieval fortresses, coastal watchtowers, breathtaking sea views, a Passionist monastery, and the many beaches and coves around the Argentario, most only accessible by boat.
Porto Santo Stefano and the Argentario area in general are ideal not only for boat lovers but for diving too, one of the most popular sports here. Many diving centers operate year-round and there are many places underwater full of flora and fauna to explore.
Points of interest
- Waterfront of the Navigators
- 17th-century Spanish fortress
- Panoramic road and coastal towers
- Roman Villa of the Domitius Ahenobarbus family
- Convent of the Passionists and Torre del Telegrafo
- Capo d’Omo Tower
- Torre Argentiera
- Golf Club
If you come by car, as soon as you arrive in Santo Stefano, we suggest leaving your car at the first available parking, Del Valle, immediately at the entrance of the town, or in one of the long-term paid parking lots.
Where to park in Porto Santo Stefano (guarded parking lots):
- Argentario parking
- Asiamel parking
- Fanciulli parking
- Economy Parking
- Viaggi Vacanze parking