Porto Azzurro lies within a protected inlet of the Gulf of Mola, long utilized as a natural harbor along the Tyrrhenian maritime routes.

Formerly known as Portolongone, it adopted its current name in 1947 following a decision by the municipal administration to provide the town with a more tourist-friendly designation.

Nestled at the foot of a promontory crowned by the Forte San Giacomo, erected by Philip III of Spain in 1602 in a star-shaped design reminiscent of Antwerp’s castle. Throughout its history, Portolongone has faced turmoil, enduring incursions from Saracen forces and shifting dominance among the French, Spanish, and Germans. This strife persisted until 1802, when the entire island became part of French territory.

The town’s compact center exudes charm, with its winding uphill streets, quaint stone facades, inviting corners, and a spacious square that mirrors the tranquil waters of the port.

Key attractions include the Sanctuary of Madonna di Monserrato, constructed in the 17th century by Spanish governor Pons Y Leòn as a replica of the renowned sanctuary near Barcelona. Housed within is an image of the Virgin considered to be an exact duplicate of the revered statue in Spain.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the exterior of Fort San Giacomo, now repurposed as a prison.

From Porto Azzurro, visitors are encouraged to stroll along the Passeggiata Carmignani and embark on excursions to Laghetto di Terranera and the Sanctuary of Madonna di Monserrato.

Market day: Saturday mornings.