Corte Corsica

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.

The main street of the town is the Cours Paoli on the west side od which is the town hall. To the left of this are a flight of steps leading down to the chapel of Ste Croix, which has a Baroque facade. At the northern end of the Cours Paoli is the Palace du Duc de Padoue, which forms the centre of the new town.

The Rue Scoliscia leads from the Place Paoli to the Place Gaffori – the main square of the old town. To the right of the square is a statue of General Gaffori, with his house behind it. Like other buildings iin the town it is pitted with bullet holes from the time of the Corsican freedom struggles. Further to the right the Rue de la Fontaine leads off to a small square with a fountain at its centre called the Fontaine des Quatre Canons.

To the left of the Place Gaffori is the 17th century Church of the Annunciation, with its tall Baroque bell tower. Inside are two lovely wooden tabernacles and a beautiful pulpit, and the vestry contains a small white marble statue of the Virgin Mary.

Behind the church is the chapel of St Theophilus of Corte, while to the right of it a flight of steps lead up to the Palais National. This was the seat of government under Pasquale Paoli, whose study and bedroom are on show to the public. The building also contains an interesting museum describing the history and pre-history of Corsica.

Not far from here is the house where the Bonaparte family lived before their move to Ajaccio, and where their son Joseph was born who later became King of Spain.

The steps to the left of the Palais National lead up to the Castle, which, being a military headquarters, is closed to the public.

Leading south from the Palais National is the Rue Balthasar Arrighi. It carries on through a maze of narrow streets and eventually comes to a round tower directly below the castle. This is known as Belvedere on account of the wonderful view from the top. A narrow path leads down from here to the river, which is spanned by an old Genoese bridge.

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