Torre di Cala Piccola on Linea Blu: amidst the fortresses and towers of Argentario
Driving along Argentario’s hairpin bends, strolling through its nature or admiring the mainland from the sea of the Tuscan Archipelago, the skyline is pierced with the remnants of towers and fortresses. These pieces of history tell the tales of the promontory, a beautiful area surrounded by the Mediterranean Maquis that, since the Sienese occupation of 1410, took on a fundamental role in control of the sea.
It was the subsequent arrival of the Spanish that saw Argentario become a military landmark. Historian Gualtiero Della Monaca reveals the story of the State of the Presidi created by Philip II of Spain in the episode of “Linea Blu” that aired on the Rai 1 television station on 14th November 2020. The defensive system dating back to 1559 included the garrison of the Lagoon of Orbetello, the Porto Ercole maritime stronghold, the Talamone Castle, the Port of Santo Stefano and some twenty coastal towers, including the Torre di Cala Piccola.
Our Torre di Cala Piccola was within view of the Torre di Capo d'Uomo ‒ the tallest and most significant, of which only remnants have survived. Originally named Torre della Ficaia, it then became Torre del Bove and subsequently Torre di Cala Piatti. The current name ‒ Torre di Cala Piccola ‒ is linked to the genesis of our Boutique Hotel.
Of the many fortresses and towers constructed throughout the centuries, only a few remain intact. Their remnants form the backdrop to incredible views of the sea, walks amongst nature and sunsets after a swim. Those to have been restored and which can be visited on a stroll through the villages, are the Rocca Spagnola and Forte Stella di Porto Ercole, the Spanish Fortress of Porto Santo Stefano.
The latter was built in the first decades of the 17th century, representing an example of Spanish military architecture, with breathtaking views to be admired from its terraces. It houses permanent exhibitions and archaeological finds salvaged from the waters of the Tuscan archipelago.
Porto Ercole’s Rocca Spagnola is reached by walking through the town centre until coming to the panoramic road. The forecourt offers a superb view of the harbour and the sea. To visit the interior requires authorisation from the Municipality of Monte Argentario.
The Forte Stella in Porto Ercole was constructed in 1557 and is ‒ as the name suggests ‒ in the shape of a star. This venue that today hosts exhibitions and events can be reached from the scenic road, heading away from Porto Ercole. Also from this vantage point, the view of the sea is simply magnificent.
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