Once an island, the municipality of Monte Argentario is now a promontory, connected to the Italian mainland by virtue of three narrow dams. Lying 35km south of Grosseto, Monte Argentario encompasses two villages – Porto Santo Stefano (which faces north) and Porto Ercole (which faces south). Monte Argentario tourism is on the increase, with visitors choosing to stay in renovated apartments or luxury villas in this attractive region – many of which offer stunning views out to sea.
The Monte Argentario coast is laden with sandy stretches and clear waters, which present ideal opportunities for swimming, water sports and sailing trips. Those who prefer to stay out of the water can enjoy the offerings in traditional seafood restaurants, stretch their legs on a coastal walk and admire the scenery – including the many 16th century look-out towers that are dotted around the area.
Whilst staying in Monte Argentario it makes sense to explore both of its villages, and a good way to do is to take the Strada Panoramica scenic road which runs along the coast and connects the two.
Monte Argentario has a number of historic look-out towers, and many of these can be found in the Porto Ercole area, including the fortresses (Forte) Stella, Filippo and Santa Carolina. Porto Ercole itself is a small, quiet fishing port, which has a historical centre – the home of the Church of St. Erasmus, and an ideal base for those seeking a relaxing holiday far away from the crowds.
The Porto Santo Stefano area is a slightly busier port that is home to the majority of the holiday rental accommodation in Monte Argentario. It’s most prominent landmark is the Rocca Spagnola Spanish fortress, a 16th Century construction that dominates the villages’ skyline. The bay area, which encompasses several sandy beaches, is the main area to head to in this picturesque village, and offers fishing, swimming, sailing and water sports opportunities. There is also an excellent fish market and several traditional restaurants, the majority of which specialise in seafood.
Monte Argentario experiences a climate that is typical of the Tuscany region, with long hot summers that peak at around 30C, and mild winters that mean you can still sit outside an enjoy a meal or glass of wine late into the evening. Rainfall is low all year round and any time is a good time to visit.
The nearest airport to Monte Argentario is Rome Fiumicino (FCO), from where it is a pleasant two hour drive along the ‘Aurelia’ coastal road to your destination. With public transport options limited in the area it is strongly recommended that you rent a hire car to travel in and around Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano and the remainder of the region.