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Portoferraio is the capital and the largest port on the island of Elba, previously named Fabricia by the Romans. The layout of Portoferraio was designed by Cosimo I dei Medici who, after changing the town’s name to Cosmopoli in 1548, also built the town’s defences.
Perched high above the town is "Forte Stella" (star fortress) which derived its name from the star-like formation of its walls. The fortress houses one of Europe's oldest beacons, constructed in 1788. From here, besides admiring the panorama of the port below, one can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the "Villa dei Mulini", the winter residence of the exiled French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Although Napoleon's exile on Elba was brief (ten months), the emperor left behind a considerable cultural and historical legacy. These treasures can be viewed in the villa of San Martino and the museum of Demidoff. Amongst these treasures are valuable works of art, fine furniture, imperial ornaments and an extraordinary library of 1000 volumes originating from Fontainbleau. Napoleon, whilst on Elba, created an important theatre and many of the island's main roads.
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