Portoferraio means "Iron Port" in Italian. Iron-ore was mined here many years ago. The old mining towers and buildings remain abandoned along the coast. From a navigational point of view there are magnetic anomalies around the island. Clearly these didn't present Nelson with any navigational issues as he described the harbour as 'for its size it's the most complete harbour in the world'. We totally agree as the anchorage is very sheltered from most wind directions. It's certainly a beautiful spot with everything to hand but we've never seen such activity with ferries - there must be between 20-30 ferries a day that come and go right into the evening. Surprisingly the wash from the ferries is minimal and we've slept undisturbed.
The old town buildings are predominantly ochre and terracotta in colour with green window shutters.
Steep cobbled alleys fan out on different levels, zigzagging up to a couple of forts that loom over the town where we enjoyed exceptional views across the harbour and surrounding area.
The cream house to the left was Napoleon's residence in exile - Villa dei Mulini. Whilst he was here he revamped education and the legal system, built roads and modernized the economy before escaping back to France.