A picturesque fishing village on the east coast of the island, transformed by Spanish domination. A colourful area to be discovered, offering both historical and natural treasures.
The municipality of Porto Azzurro is situated on the central-eastern side of the Island of Elba.
The ancient origins of the town can be easily understood from its coat of arms: this village of fishermen and farmers was once called Longone and dates back to the 17th century. Its history is closely linked to the Spanish domination and many families today bear surnames dating from that period.
During the various bloody battles, uprising and conquests which took place on Elba, the imposing San Giacomo Fort, built by the Spanish in the previous century to control and defend the surrounding area, was first occupied in 1646 by French troops and later re-conquered by the Spanish themselves. The town’s inhabitants resided in the area below the fort, called the marina, which was optimal as both a port and harbour. The economy of the area developed mainly in agriculture and fishing, aided by the mild climate.
In the meantime, the territory passed to the Kingdom of Naples, and remained under its domination until the arrival of Napoleon in 1801 who became sovereign of the whole island.
After the Second World War, the inhabitants of Portolongone requested to change the town’s name and in 1947 it became Porto Azzurro. A new life began for the inhabitants, who were no longer subject to the rule of the fort, which was then used as a prison.
In the 1950s and 60s Porto Azzurro began to promote its historical and natural treasures, thus attracting tourists, and over the years it has become a choice destination for both local and overseas tourists.
Un villaggio di pescatori e contadini a cui venne dato il nome di Longone e la cui storia è strettamente legata alla dominazione spagnola
On the seafront there are picturesque restaurants built on stilts, while the narrow streets are full of charming shops. Here visitors can also admire the Parish Church dedicated to the Madonna del Carmine and the Oratory of the Sacred Heart of Mary, which both date from the 18th century.
Not far from the town is the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Monserrato, another significant testimony to Spanish domination, built in 1606. The sanctuary, set in lush, green environment, offers a stunning panorama out to the sea.
The coastline in the vicinity of Porto Azzurro boasts unique natural beauties such as the beach of “Terranera”, famous in particular for the emerald-green Terranera Lake of mining origin, which can be reached on foot thanks to a path starting from Reale beach. Among the other well-known beaches in the area is ‘Barbarossa’ which offers both sand and shingle. This beach is well served with bars, restaurants and accommodation options.