Forte Filippo        

Monte Argentario, Italy                
Spain's King Philip II (1527-1598) founded the State of Presidi (or "State of the Garrisons") in 1557, giving a somewhat legitimate-sounding name to the lands in what is now central Italy that he had recently ripped from the grasp of the French. Marauding naval bands of Turks, led by the dastardly Turgut Reis (1485-1565), were a threat any place that could be reached via the Mediterranean. Porto Ercole, the main port on the little island of Monte Argentario (read more about the history of Monte Argentario at our Rocco Aldobrandesca page), therefore needed forts for protection!

Work began on Forte Filippe, named of course for the Spanish King (the cynically suggested name Forte Turgut was swiftly voted down) in early 1558. The fort was designed and built with an eye towards concealment, incorporating as much as possible the surrounding landscape, so as to "elude" Turkish cannonballs (!?). The fort's first garrison was able to nestle down into their new home by June, just in time for the annual visit of Turgut Reis and his merry, piratical band.

Turgut's exact quote when he realized that Monte Argentario was no longer the pushover it had been just the previous year has been lost in the mists of time, but one imagines it was something like, "Aw crap."

Spain successfully defended Porto Ercole and the rest of the State of Presidi from the muslim horde and everybody else until the 18th century, when the Austrians, always a thorn in the boot of Italy, conquered the Kingdom of Naples in 1707, then besieged Porto Ercole and forced its surrender on March 22 1712. After that, a variety of Napoleonic-era events, culminating in the Treaty of Vienna (1815), eventually gave ownership of Monte Argentario to the Kingdom of Tuscany. Italian Unification took place from around 1815 to 1871, and the rest is history. Well, really, all of it is history. Except for the parts that I made up.

Today Forte Filippo has been made into quite a lovely apartment complex...a complex of one apartment, if I read the related site correctly! For the paltry sum of just under 100,000 Euros, it can be yours. I'll start saving this instant.

Do you have a correction, addition or complaint about
Forte Filippo?
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Info Source 1 Info Source 2 Info Source 3 Info Source 4
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Thanks to Google Maps for the image!