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Portoferraio

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Portoferraio (ZIP code 57037) is 131,7 kilometers far from Livorno, that is the Chief Town of the homonymous province to whom the municipality belongs.

Portoferraio has a population of 10.232 inhabitants (Portoferraiesi) and a surface of 47,46 square kilometers thus showing a population density of 215,59 inhabitants per square kilometer. It rises 4 metres above the sea level.

The City Hall is located in Via Garibaldi 17, phone ++39 0565 - 937111, fax ++39 0565 - 916391: the E-Mail address is urp@comune.portoferraio.li.it.

Population: The municipality of Portoferraio had a popolation of 11.042 inhabitants accordingly to the results of the national census made in 1991. After the national census made in 2001 the population was 10.232 inhabitants, thus showing during the years 1991 - 2001 a percentual variation of -7,34% inhabitants.

The inhabitants are distributed in 4.214 families with an average of 2,43 people per family.

The place: The territory of the municipality lies between 1 and 645 metres above sea level.

The altimetric spawn is thus of 644 metres.

Work and workers:There are 200 industrial firms employing 653 people that are the 10,80% of the total of the workers. There are 348 service firms employing 1.293 people that are the 21,39% of the total of the workers. There are also 516 firms employing 2.733 people that are the 45,20% of the total of the workers. There are also 74 administrative offices emplying 1.367 workers that are the 22,61% of the total of the workers.

There is a total of 6.046 workers, that are the 59,09% of the inhabitants of the municipality.

Portoferraio rises in the Elba Island, the most large island of the Tuscan archipelago.

The local economy is mainly active in the tourist field thanks to the beauty of its beaches, its mountainous landscapes and monuments and thanks also to its numerous and fine hotels.

The first settlements in the area of Portoferraio go back to the Etruscan and Roman Ages, when the extraction and manufacture of the pyrite, from which the iron can be obtained, were already practised.

The place name comes from a compound name of "porto" (harbour) and "ferrum" (iron) with the reference to the transportation of the irony mineral.

Owing to the collapse of the Roman Empire started a phase of decline that lasted for a long.

At that time Portoferraio subdued numerous sacks, first by the Longbards and then by the Saracens.

During the Middle Ages the village of Portoferraio was under the Appiano’s Lords, who were Lords of Piombino, and Portoferraio became an important shipping slipway by trading the minerals coming from the whole isle.

In 1548 the Grand Duke Cosimo I of Medici founded a town-fortress with the agreement of the King of Spain, Carlo V, who had a great influence on the territory, and the Jacopo IV Appiano’s accord. That new town was called "Cosmopolis" from the name of its founder and today represents the actual Portoferraio.

In 1557 the Grand Duke achieved the official possession of that fortified town, equipped by a ring of walls spaced out by three fortress, one of them was placed nearby the harbour.

During the next century Portoferraio was further fortified by building new fortresses and in 1637 the town was elevated to the rank of city.

During the XVII-th century Portoferraio was quarrelled among different lordships both for its strategic position and the mineral richness of its territory.

In 1751 the town became the official naval base of the Tuscan Grand Dukedom.

At the beginning of the XIX-th century Portoferraio subdued the French invasion that occupied the whole isle of Elba up to 1814.

After the collapse of the French Empire the town was capital of a little state governed by Napoleone Bonaparte and in 1815 owing to the Treaty of Vienna Portoferraio entered again the Tuscan Grand Dukedom.

In 1861 Portoferraio was annexed to the Reign of Italy by the King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoia.

Among the most important monuments to see in Portoferraio we point out here the Duomo (Cathedral), the Chiesa del Santissimo Sacramento (Holiest Sacrament Church), the Chiesa della Misericordia (Mercy’s Church), the Palazzo Comunale (Municipal Palace), the Forte Stella (Stella Fortress), the Forte Falcone (Falcone Fortress), the Bastioni Medicei (Medici’s Strongholds), the Torre del Martello (Tower of the Hammer), the Pinacoteca Comunale Foresiana (Municipal Foresiana Picture-gallery) and the Villa dei Mulini (Villa of the Mills).

Among the several celebrations periodically taking place in Portoferraio we remind here the traditional "Maggio Napoleonico" (Napoleonic May) held yearly during the first days of May with meetings and shows in honour of Napoleone Bonaparte.