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Portoferraio, Elba, Italy

42°48.7′N, 10°19.8′E Chart icon.png
Portoferraio old harbour

Portoferraio, the main harbour on Elba, lies on the west side of a well-sheltered bay, protected by the peninsula of Punta Falcone. Originally founded by Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Tuscany, in 1548, the peninsula was fortified over subsequent centuries and remained in the hands of the Tuscan Grand Duchy until the 18th century. Briefly occupied by the English at the outset of the 19th century, Portoferraio became the place of exile of the defeated Napoleon Bonaparte in May 1814 until his escape to the French mainland the following year. His residence, the Villa dei Mulini, is now a museum and visitors can browse in the great man’s library and terraced garden. The old harbour today is a busy commercial port and marina with berths for around 70 yachts on laid moorings.


British Admiralty
131 - Rada di Portoferraio


Portoferraio is well sheltered in most conditions. Strong southerly winds, however, send a chop into the harbour, but this is not dangerous.

Sources for Weather forecasts:

  • There is a continuous (computerised voice) weather forecast on VHF 68 - first in Italian and then followed with an English translation
  • The same forecast is given in Italian and English on VHF coastal stations following a notification on channel 16
  • Navtex weather forecasts are broadcast from stations at Roma, Cagliari (Sardinia) and Augusta (Sicily)


Popular passages/routes, timing, etc.




Also see World Cruiser's Nets.


Care is needed in the approach from the west to avoid the shoal of Capo Bianco extending nearly half a mile north from Punta Cap Bianco. The shoal is identified by a north cardinal marker. Entrance to the harbour is difficult in strong southerly winds. Night entry (after 2100) is discouraged. Depths in the harbour range from 2.5 to 6.5 metres.


Call Dock Medici Portoferraio on VHF channel 09. Alternatively, telephone on: +39 0565 914121 or e-mail to: porto@marinadiportoferraio.it. Yacht berths are on the west side of the harbour, managed by Cosimo De Medici srl Soc.. There are a total of 70 berths, of which seven are ostensibly reserved for yachts in transit. Laid moorings at all berths. Usually marina staff are on hand to help with mooring.


Marinas & Yacht Clubs


Rada di Portoferraio

Rada di Portoferraio/wiki/Portoferraio#Rada_di_Portoferraio
Anchorage icon Rada di Portoferraio [[Portoferraio#Rada di Portoferraio|Rada di Portoferraio]] 42°48.36′N, 10°19.26′E
Anchor clear of the ferry turning area and the harbour approaches, avoiding the numerous small craft moorings. Depths here are 3.0 - 5.0 metres. Holding is excellent in mud. Shelter is reasonable unless there is anything east in the wind. However, the anchorage is subject to a lot of ferry wash.

Cala Bagnaia

Cala Bagnaia/wiki/Portoferraio#Cala_Bagnaia
Anchorage icon Cala Bagnaia [[Portoferraio#Cala Bagnaia|Cala Bagnaia]] 42°48.6′N, 10°21.66′E
Cala Bagnaia is a u-shaped bay about one mile due east of the old harbour. Anchor in 4.0 - 5.0 metres clear of the small craft moorings. Shelter here is good except when there is anything west in the wind.

Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores

Submit addresses and contact details of marine related businesses that are of interest to cruisers.


Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Fuel quay immediately to the west of the entrance to the basin. Water and electricity at all berths.

Things to do Ashore


The old town, enclosed by a mediaeval wall and topped by its 16th century Medici castle, is very atmospheric. The Villa dei Mulini, Napoleon’s former residence, can be visited here (closed Tuesdays). The same ticket entitles you to visit the other site associated with Napoleon, his summer residence at Villa Napoleonica di San Martino, situated in the village of San Martino 5 kilometres SW of the town. Originally quite modest, the latter was considerably altered by one Prince Demidoff (a 19th century fan and collector of Napoleonic memorabilia), who funded a pompous, neoclassical extension. If you hire transport, the flower-bedecked village of Marciana up in the hills to the west of Portoferraio is most attractive. You can take a cable car from there up to the top of Monte Capanne for wonderful views of the island. Another delightful hilltop village is Poggio, whose shady cafes make for a great lunch stop.

Grocery & Supply Stores

Good shops at the north end of the harbour.


  • Some good ristorantes in the old town square.




Motorbike & Car Rentals

Several rental outlets in the town.

Garbage Disposal

Bins around the harbour.


  • Local buses around the island
  • Ferries to Piombino and Livorno on the mainland
  • Airport at Marina di Campo with flights to Pisa, Florence and Rome plus a few other European destinations.


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


References & Publications

See Italy.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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Names: Lighthouse, Athene of Lymington

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