Uncovering Italy’s Superlatives in people, places and things

ISSIMO’s Guide to Monte Argentario

Issimo Monte Argentario, Tuscany Italy

A Family Retreat

Tuscany’s Monte Argentario holds a special place in our hearts. Not only is the “island” an illustrious hideaway off the Tuscan coast known for fabulous boats, boho chic and gorgeous sunsets, it is home to Roberto Scìo’s first hotel and Marie-Louise’s childhood playground.

Located in the Maremma area, Monte Argentario is an easy two-hour drive up the coast from Rome, or two hours and then some drive due south from Pisa.  From a distance, Monte Argentario is a big rock- a wild and lush mountain peninsula promontory connected to the mainland by two causeways surrounded by large sandbars and lagoons.  Thanks to it’s not-so-obvious location, Monte Argentario is both exclusive and rustic, the ideal area for la dolce vita explorations.

Monte Argentario’s towns

Gateway to Monte Argentario is Orbetello, a small walled town built into the lagoons between the mainland and promontory. The pedestrian town is charming and has some of the best sunset views.  

Porto Santo Stefano

Porto Santo Stefano is one of Monte Argentario’s two port towns. Colorful residences are built into the terraced cove and surround 16th century Fortezza Spagnola, Spanish Fort. 

Porto Ercole is our beloved favourite, a charming and picturesque fishing village and home to Hotel Il Pellicano.

Bars and Aperitivi

Caffé con Panna at Bar del Porto.

Bar del Porto: Porto Ercole’s pretty-as-a-picture bar beloved by Marie-Louise. Her morning pick me up? Granita al caffè con panna.  

Bar La Polverosa Orbetello’s spost for the evening aperitivo.  Driving notes: La Polverosa is situated along the road outside town on the way to Marsiliana.

Tuscany Bay Giannella’s beachfront piano bar and lounge is unbeatable for the sunset aperitivo.

Restaurants and Food

Fattoria La Parrina (Orbetello) Farm-fresh, home grown and all organic produce, salumi, cheese, jams, sauces, olive oil and wine. Marie-Louise loves the yogurt made with sheep’s milk. For the epicurious, stay for the restaurant.

La Capannuccia Beachside bar, restaurant and club in Ansedonia, with unspoiled views of Monte Argentario. Our go to orders include paccheri pasta with pesto and clams, and linguine with clams (vongole veraci).  

Petronio Head inland to Marsiliana for the best taste of Tuscany with its antipasti della casa (a smattering of incredible Tuscan apetizers), pappa reale/gnocco reale and an unforgettable bistecca alla fiorentina. Rustic vibe.

Pizza La Bersagliera Pizza puree is Marie-Louise’s go to order at La Bersagliera, Orbetello’s famed pizzeria.

Ristorante Il Tortello This is why you came to Italy. Homemade pasta like tortelli with ricotta and spinach in a ragu  sauce, a true eggplant parmesan, and an unbeatable maialino arrosto (roasted pig). 

Nature Escapes

Hiking in Monte Argentario

Bike the Feniglia Natural Reserve 7-km strip of land (tombolo), with a total area of 474 hectares. The Feniglia separates the lagoon of Orbetello from the sea and and connects Monte Argentario with Ansedonia..

Hike Monte Argentario to the Punta il Telegrafo for the best view over the island. 

Culture cues

Monte Argentario’s history as a Spanish enclave and part of the Stato dei Presidi means the landscape is dotted with the remains of fortresses like Porto Ercole’s Forte Stella, a watch tower fort built in the shape of a star and Fortezza Spagnola, the Spanish outpost hovering over Porto Santo Stefano.

Forte Stella in in Porto Ercole.

Orto Botanico Corsini in Porto Ercole is eight acres of what Is one Italy’s most important botanical garden with over1,300 trees and shrubs, one of the most important palm collections in the world with more than 20 species and about 340 specimens.

In 1977, artist Nikki St. Phalle upturned the Calpabio countryside with her whimsical Giardino dei Tarocchi, a crazy and gorgeous sculpture park.

For a little Roman history, explore the Ancient City of Cosa and Ansedonia’s archaeological museum.

Seaside chic

Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano and Orbetello are treasure troves of fabulous fashion boutiques for natty beach chic and more. Our favourites are Ester Gi and Safari Blue in Porto Ercole, Otè concept in Porto Santo Stefano and Rasna in Orbetello.  We also love  Cose Come Case where art, design and fashion meet In Porto Ercole Vecchia

Places to Stay

Our Hotel Il Pellicano, in Porto Ercole.

Casa Iris with its three charming and beautifully designed rooms are the perfect stay in Orbetello. Owners Matthew Adams and James Valeri are long time friends of Marie-Louise and curate a divine Instagram.

Hotel Il Pellicano – what more can we say?

My Account
Create an account

A link to set a new password will be sent to your email address.

Your personal data will be used to process your order, support your experience throughout this website, and for other purposes described in our privacy policy.

Password Recovery

Lost your password? Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.