Chief town and
main port center
Portoferraio is one of the island's most ancient towns: its origins date back from the Ligurians, the Etruscans and the Greeks, before becoming a Roman colony called Fabricia.
The plan of Portoferraio, as we can admire it today, is due to the will of Cosimo I dei Medici who after changing the name to Cosmopoli, in 1548 also began the great defensive works.
In 1814, the city gave refuge to the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte. Other places of historical and cultural interest are the Romanesque Church of Santo Stefano alle Trane, the high-ground Etruscan Fortress of Castiglione, Villa dei Mulini and Villa San Martino, the International Art Center of Italo Bolano, the Pinacoteca Foresiana and the Botanical Garden at Ottone.
Portoferraio and its historical town center live around the port offering splendid views and a lively atmosphere: caracteristic cafés, bars and restaurants, pizzerias, specialised shops and boutiques, the traditional indoor market, in the summer handicraft night market....
Villa Romana delle Grotte
A few kilometers from Portoferraio, towards Bagnaia, in the hamlet called Le Grotte, there are the remains of a Roman villa from the Imperial period. These were covered by plants and shrubs until 1960 when the digging brought to light the great complex with walls in opus reticulatum, big terraces overlooking the sea and a pool with heating and water cycle system.