Monday, February 27, 2006

Argentario Tuscany – Destination VIP

The first formal written records, containing the promontory Monte Argentario, date back to 24 AD. This hill, about 654 meters above sea level at the highest point, was an island. Over the years two rivers deposited silt into the ocean behind the island and built up to create two connecting causeways between the mainland and the island. This is not what makes Monte Argentario so special. Located just north of Civitavecchia, the primary port of Rome, the forces that controlled this island also controlled the sea lanes of Rome.

Antique as it is Monte Argentario has been conquered as many times as Italy has had kings (I could list them here but in the interest of space let us simply say “numerous”). The promontory received its current name when the Republic of Rome gave it to the “Argentarii”, money lender for our Italian impaired friends, Enobarbi Domizi as repayment for loans during the II Guerra Punica. Domizi made this his home and named the promontory “Monte Argentario” or the hill of the money lenders.

The promontory then passed to Carlo Magno, Leone III, Aldobrandeschi, Orsini di Sovana, the king of Naples, the king of Spain, Napoleon to finally rest with the Grand Duke of Toscana. Several other fortifications were built in the surrounding areas, Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole. West and South West of Florence the Argentario district spans from Grosseto south to Civitavecchia (just north of Rome).

Today these locations have progressed from defending the sea lanes to becoming the most desired vacation spots for “Roma Bene”. Movie stars, politicians, business leaders and yes the normal working guy. The variety of selection of food and lodging is a vast as the client base and beginning in the first days of spring these areas swell to several hundred thousand people. Many have their second home but the choice of hotels is very good. The influx of weekenders also drives a thriving restaurant business and shopping that parallels Rome itself.

I just happen to be in Santo Stefano at this time but I will tell you about that later on this week.

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Blogger Alfonso Cevola said...

man you've got it rough!

4:22 PM

Blogger Peace said...

Show us more pictures of the place, will you? Thanks. : )

8:50 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Italian Wine Guy - yes, someone must do it. It is not all pleasure I have become very involved in helping some small Italian companies distribute their goods here in the US!

Peace - Yesterday I was travelling so I was unable to post. However I do have some great pictures and stories from Monte Argentario, Porto Ercole and Santo Stefano.

4:38 AM

Blogger fin said...

That was lovely. Thanks for posting!

1:25 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Fin - Thank you. You are very kind.

1:52 PM


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