Chief town and main port center, it is situated on the north-east coast, on a promontory that closes the gulf towards the north. Portoferraio is one of the island's most ancient towns: its origins date back from the Ligurians, the Etruscans and the Greeks, before becoming a Roman colony called Fabricia. The plan of Portoferraio, as we can admire it today, is due to the will of Cosimo I dei Medici who after changing the name to Cosmopoli, in 1548 also began the great defensive works. In 1814, the city gave refuge to the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte. Other places of historical and cultural interest are the Romanesque Church of Santo Stefano alle Trane, the high-ground Etruscan Fortress of Castiglione, Villa dei Mulini
and Villa San Martino, the International Art Center of Italo Bolano, the Pinacoteca Foresiana and the Botanical Garden at Ottone. In the municipality of Portoferraio is the San Giovanni Spa. Also administrated by the Commune of Portoferraio are the localities of San Giovanni, Schiopparello, Magazzini, Ottone, Carpani, Bagnaia, San Martino, Biodola, Viticcio and the Island of Montecristo.