If you take a look at the current coat of arms of the city of Porto Azzurro, you can find the ancient origins of the village. It was a commune of fishermen and farmers that was called Longone. Its history, which dates back to about 1600, is closely linked with the period of the Spanish rule in Elba. Even today, many families have Spanish surnames from that period.
The imposing Fortress of Longone was built by the Spanish in the 16th century but was occupied by the French troops in 1646 during one of the many bloody battles for control of Elba. The island has seen many resistances and conquests, and in fact the Spanish later took the Fortress of Longone back from the French invaders. The group of people living below the fortress, in the marina area, worked mostly in the management of ships and freight coming in and out of the port. The economy of the area was also based on agriculture and fishing.
In the mean time, the Kingdom of Naples invaded and took over Porto Azzurro residence and power. The Kingdom of Naples remained in power until 1801 when Napoleon's troops arrived. Napoleon then came in person and declared himself the "Sovereign Ruler of the Island of Elba." After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, the Island of Elba was passed on to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It remained this way until the unification of Italy.
After the Second World War, the people of what was then called Portolongone asked to change the name of their town to Porto Azzurro. It then began a new life as a town independent of the Spanish fortress. The fortress is now used as a prison detention center.
Despite co-existing with the reality of the Prison, Porto Azzurro began in the 1950s and 60s to appreciate and popularize its historical and natural treasures, thus incrementing tourism in its territory. As a result, Porto Azzurro has become one of the preferred destinations for thousands of Italian and foreign tourists.