Tuscany's hidden gem on the sea, Monte Argentario is in Southern Tuscany's Maremma region. Monte Argentario was once an island off the coast of Tuscany but is now connected to the mainland by large sandbars and lagoons. It's completely different from the rest of Tuscany, having once belonged to both Spain and Naples. In fact, sometimes it feels more like being in southern Italy than Tuscany.
Monte Argentario is wooded and full of wildlife and has a much more untamed beauty than most parts of Tuscany. The mountain is surrounded by a beautiful, rocky coastline.
Monte Argentario Highlights
- Beautiful rugged coastline and beaches
- Wildlife, nature, and hiking
- Boat trips to the Tuscan archipelago
- Port towns of Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano
- Forts and towers
Monte Argentario Location
Monte Argentario is in the Maremma region of southern Tuscany. It's about 150 km north of Rome and 190 km south of Pisa. The closest large city is Grosseto, about 40 km away. Nearby are the islands of Giglio and Giannutri.
Monte Argentario Transportation
The closest airports to Monte Argentario are Rome or Pisa. There's a train station in Orbetello Scalo and there's some bus transportation but it's really best to have a car to explore Monte Argentario.
Monte Argentario Hotels and Vacation Houses
Of the two towns, Porto Santo Stefano has more hotels than Porto Ercole, though the latter boasts a luxury resort, Il Pellicano. Both locations have plenty of villa, apartment and guesthouse rentals on AirBnB and elsewhere.Tuscany Now also has vacation rentals for Monte Argentario, mostly in secluded locations with pools and sea views.
Porto Santo Stefano
Porto Santo Stefano is one of two port towns. The 16th century Fortezza Spagnola, Spanish Fort, dominates the historic city. It's been renovated and inside are the unusual Museum of the Masters of the Axe and the Submerged Memories exhibit with archaeological finds from the sea. There's an aquarium, a seaside promenade, tourist information, and ferries to explore the islands of the Tuscan archipelago.
Ristorante la Bussola, P. Facchinetti, serves excellent fresh seafood. The warm seppie (cuttlefish) salad with beans and corn is an unusual and delicious appetizer. For the fish course, the waiter brings a platter of fresh fish to the table for you to choose from. In nice weather, they have outdoor seating.
Porto Ercole is the most picturesque town on the island. Forte Filippo, a large military fort, sits on a hill near the town. The sea promenade is lined with fishermen's cottages and along the coast are both sandy and rocky beaches. In the old town, up the hill from the harbor, is the Chiesa di Sant Erasmo with a marble altar and tombstones of the Spanish governors. The Spanish Rocca sits above the old town and can be visited.
Orbetello is built into the lagoons between the mainland and Monte Argentario. Buses connect the town with the train station in Orbetello Scalo so it's probably the best option for those traveling by public transportation. A pedestrian street with shops, bars, and restaurants cuts through the center of town and outside town are nice beaches. Restaurant Cantuccio serves inexpensive typical food of Maremma, mostly meat.
Near Porto Ercole, Tombolo della Feniglia is a nature reserve in the lagoon with pine trees, birds, deer, and wild pigs. Along the coast are good beaches.
A Day Trip to Giglio
From Porto Santo Stefano, you can take one of the frequent passenger ferries (non-residents are not permitted to bring cars in high season) to the Isola di Giglio, a picturesque island in the Tuscan archipelago. You can explore Giglio Porto, the small town where the ferries arrive, on foot and go to nearby beaches. Or you can easily hire a private boat to take you around the island, and stop in hidden coves and beaches reachable only by boat.