The fort Filippo is a coastal fortification located in the municipality of Monte Argentario, on the summit of a promontory that dominates from the north-east the hamlet of Porto Ercole and the entire bay of the old port.
Entrance with drawbridge
The current fortification was built by the architect Giovanni Camerini shortly after the mid-sixteenth century, in the place where there was a sighting structure of the previous era, to implement and improve the defensive system of the State of the Presidi. The architect himself had also participated in the construction of other defensive structures in the area, including the Forte Stella.
The place chosen by the Spaniards for the construction of the defensive complex was already home to the Sant’Ermo fort, a defensive work built by the Sienese during the fifteenth century to strengthen the defensive system along the southern coastal section of the territory then administered by the Republic of Siena. With the passage of the entire area in the State of the Presidia, the pre-existing Sienese fortification was not considered suitable to integrate into the new defensive system: its demolition was decided to leave room for the current fortified structure that was built in 1558. The name was chosen in honor of King Philip II of Spain who commissioned Camerini directly to carry out the work.
The modern fortification thus built began to perform its sighting functions and, if necessary, also of defense and offense, with the possibility of an active integration with the nearby Torre del Mulinaccio; given its position on the summit of an impervious hill difficult to reach, the complex was considered practically impregnable and, in the event of enemy attacks, became the headquarters of the general staff.
Between the end of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth century various renovations were carried out, from the French during the Napoleonic period and from the Lorena after the passage of the entire territory in the grand duchy of Tuscany. Precisely at this time it was decided to build the chapel of San Nicola in place of the pre-existing late seventeenth century.
After the unification of Italy the complex was gradually decommissioned from the original military functions, to be then turned into a prison in the late nineteenth century and, during the Second World War, became a place of refuge for the population during the numerous bombings that hit the area.
In the second half of the last century the complex was sold to private individuals, later restored and restored to its former glory; the buildings located inside the fortress, which in the past were used for military functions, have been transformed into residential buildings. Before the definitive renovation works were carried out, the complex also belonged to the Corsini princes of Florence.
The fort Filippo appears as an imposing fortified complex that develops in a quadrangular plan, with a fort that borders the entire defensive structure consisting of a double wall curtain with massive base with a cordoned shoe, which in turn encloses a wide and deep moat which divides the external fort from the internal one. The double walls enclose at each corner a double bastion of triangular shape, external and internal, as well as a fifth single minor bastion that develops on a pentagonal plan protruding from the outer wall curtain along the northern side of the complex. In some places the walkway along the parapets of the fortress was preserved. The architectural peculiarity that characterizes the whole fortress as a whole is the asymmetry of the angular bastions, which along the outer walls keep the niches where the weapons of attack and active defense were placed. From the northern bastion, a curtain wall detaches itself placing itself to protect the linking path between the fortification and the nearby Torre del Mulinaccio, while to the east there were links to the surface with the fort Santa Caterina.
The access to the fortification takes place on the eastern side of the complex, where a round arched entrance door opens at the small wall opening onto the characteristic drawbridge that leads to the second door that opens up along the internal stone-clad curtain wall: this last door presents a lowered arch covered in travertine, above which is placed a large coat of arms of Spain.
From the large internal courtyard you can reach the buildings that in the past were used for military functions. They housed a powder magazine, a first aid garrison, sentries lodgings and storage depots; among them there is still the presence of the single-chamber building of the eighteenth-century chapel of San Nicola. Various buildings are used as dwellings following the restoration work carried out in the second half of the century