Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. It is a popular attraction for tourists with both cultural aspects (with its main cities Ajaccio and Bastia and smaller towns like Porto-Vecchio and Sartène) and geographical features (Parc naturel régional de Corse).
The Calanques de Piana and Scandola Nature Reserve are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The island is 183 kilometres (114 miles) long at longest, 83 kilometres (52 miles) wide at widest, has 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) of coastline, more than 200 beaches, and is very mountainous, with Monte Cinto as the highest peak at 2,706 metres (8,878 feet) and around 120 other summits of more than 2,000 metres (6,600 feet).
Mountains comprise two-thirds of the island, forming a single chain. Forests make up one-fifth of the island.
See also: Cities in Corsica
Although the island is separated from the continental mainland by the Ligurian Sea and is closer to Italy than to the French mainland, politically Corsica is part of Metropolitan France. It was once briefly an independent Corsican Republic, until being incorporated into France in 1769. Its culture has both French and Italian elements. Napoléon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio, where his ancestral home, Casa Buonaparte, is also located.
Ajaccio is the capital city on the French island of Corsica. It is situated by the side of a large bay on the island’s west coast. Facing south it is sheltered by the mountains lying to the north which makes it popular as an all-year round holiday destination. Ajaccio functions as a seaport and a seaside resort.
Casa Buonaparte (La maison Bonaparte in French) is the ancestral home of the Bonaparte family. It is located on the Rue Saint-Charles in Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. The house was almost continuously owned by members of the family from 1682 to 1923. Napoleon Bonaparte’s great-great grandfather Giuseppe Buonaparte first moved into the Casa Buonaparte in 1682.
Porto-Vecchio (Corsican: Portivechju) is a commune in the Corse-du-Sud department of France on the island of Corsica.It is the seat of the canton of Porto-Vecchio, which it shares with Sari-Solenzara, Conca and Lecci. Port-Vecchio is a medium-sized port city placed on a good harbor, the southernmost of the marshy and alluvial east side of Corsica.
Cargèse is a village in Corsica, to the north of Ajaccio. It sprawls from the top of a hill down to a small harbor. The town is best known for the Cargèse Institute for Physics, just outside to the south, which hosts conferences and summer schools.A bus runs twice a day between Ajaccio and Cargèse. Cargese is tiny: you can comfortably walk anywhere in minutes.
The town of Corte on the French island of Corsica is situated on a rocky outcrop above the valley of the Tavignano, it is clustered around an old fortress on the top of the rock. One side of the rock falls sheer, while the other side slopes more gently, forming the old town of Corte. Corte is situated in the central mountains of Corsica and for a short time between 1755-69 was actually the capital city of the island.
Bastia is situated towards the northern end of the island’s eastern shore at the foot of Cap Corse. The Genoese built a massive fort on the headland overlooking the old harbour. A century later as the town was flourishing, they built enormous battlements and a moat around the new settlement, creating a vast citadel that remains there to this day. In the 19th century a new port was built to the north of the old one and further settlements grew around it.
Here are a few ideas for great days out around Corsica :-
- Take a boat trip around the Nature reserve at Scandola
- At Sant’Antonio you can take a donkey ride to the top of the village where you will be greeted with fantastic views
- Take a ride on the narrow gauge railway, the Trinicellu,through the mountain at Ponte Leccia
- Visit the artisan workshops at Pigna
- Visit the Baroque church of St.Augustin at Montemaggiore
- There is a Genoese fortress at Girolata
- At Algajola wander through the ancient fishing village and visit the superb beach
- Take a chance to do a little wine tasting at Domaine d’Alzipratu in Calenzana
- Ile Rousse visit the open market
- In Calvi there is a Jazz festival in June, visit the church of Notre Dame de la Serra, Cirque de Bonifato, Cathedral Jean-Baptiste
- At Porto/Piana see the pink granite rocks of Les Calanches.
- Visit the haunted castle of the da Gentiles and the Chappelle Notre Dame de Nieges at Castello
- See the Roman ruins and Fort de Matra at Aleria
- Take a trip to the brewery at Furiani
- Visit the convent for wine tasting at Patrimonia
- At Saint Florent you can visit the cathedral or take a wander around the marina and watch the yachts come in
- Visit the Musee Paoli and the 10th century Chapel San Tommaso di Pastorecci at Morosaglia
- At Nonza see where Captain Caselli kept the 1200 French soldiers at bay single handed at the Pisan tower
- Visit the Musee de Levie where the Dame de Bonifacio is kept
- At Sta Lucie de Tallano visit the Olive oil mill, visit the 15th Century Couvent de Saint-Francis or just take a wander through the village
- Visit the waterfalls, Cascades d’Evisa at Evsa
- At Corte visit the Restonica bridge, the Citadel and General Gaffori’s house
- At Carbini is the Campanile de San Ghjuvannu di Carbini, an ancient bell tower
- Visit the Maison Bonaparte in Ajaccio and see the turtles at the sanctuary which houses around 120 different species
- The Thermal springs at Baracci
- At Caldane visit the Bains de Caldane which are thermal baths good for skin conditions and other ailments
- Porto Pollo is a lovely fishing village
- Porticcio is a lively tourist area with bars, restaurants and shops
- There is a lovely waterfall and rock pool near the village of Zoza
- Take a boat trip to the Grotte de Sdragonato at Bonifacio or visit the Aquarium,there are also the Boutiques in the Citadel, the Marine Cemetry, the church of Saint-Marie-Majeure or walk the Escalers du Roi d’Aragon
- Swim under the waterfall, Piscia-di-Gallu, or in the Lac de L’Ospedale
- At Porto Vecchio see the huge twisted tree in the Place de la Republique, the church of St,Jean-Baptiste, and the Genoese Gate
- See the unusual dwellings built into the rock formations at Chera
- San Quilico houses Corsica’s smallest Pisan Chapel just 24m by 10m, hidden among the vineyards
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