Forte Stella

How to reach

Forte Stella is located in the municipality of Monte Argentario, near Porto Ercole, on a promontory that rises west of the town, not far from the Sbarcatello beach.

History

Forte Stella is an imposing fortification, characterized by the presence of two fortresses, one external and one internal. The fortification was built by the Spanish in the second half of the sixteenth century, when the area became part of the 'Stato dei Presidi' (State of the Garrisons), within which it was one of the strategic points of the defensive system, it could visually communicate with the Avvoltore Tower to the west, with the Rocca Aldobrandesca of Porto Ercole and even with the Tower of San Pancrazio on the Ansedonia promontory to the east. The site was previously occupied by Forte Sant'Ippolito, probably built on a project by the military engineer Francesco di Giorgio Martini, who already represented one of the cornerstones of the defensive system of the Argentario promontory: part of it was included in the central part of the new fortification.

 

The Spanish for the new construction asked the help of Cosimo I de 'Medici who entrusted the direction of the works to the architects Bernardo Buontalenti and Giovanni Camerini, who elaborated the project in 1558.

 

The area is surrounded by a quadrangular external fort, with a pentagonal bastion that encloses each of the four corners of the perimeter. Externally there was also a system of ditches that made access even more protected and safe. To overcome the external fortress it is necessary to follow a long ramp that leads up to the door that opens on the north-eastern side of the external wall curtain.

 

The main gate of the complex, surmounted by a round arch resting on two horizontal cords, is preceded by a bridge that replaced the original lost drawbridge in modern times. The stretch is protected by a ravelin, built in the eighteenth century, where two long vertical cracks stand side by side with a slit on each side. Noteworthy are two large coats of arms along the front elevation.

 

The internal area constitutes the fort itself, built on the pre-existing Forte Sant'Ippolito, which develops with a six-pointed starred plan, with high curtain walls consisting of a mighty bastionated base delimited above by a 'redondone', above which it rests the parapet, equipped with a wall walk used together with the large top terrace for sighting functions and for sending light signals to the other towers. Numerous loopholes open along the walls of the internal fort. At the eastern summit of the internal fort, one of the original sentry boxes with a bell tower has been preserved, which originally characterized each summit of the fort.

 

Forte Stella was dismissed from the original military functions during the nineteenth century, when the whole area passed first to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and then to the Kingdom of Italy. After becoming a state property, in the 1990s the entire structure underwent renovations that brought it back to its former glory and kept it in excellent condition.