Corsica

Corsica is the fourth largest island of Mediterranean.

1) Path
2) What to visit
3) Eating
4) How to get here
5) Notes
6) Photo Gallery
Corsica map

• Path

Trip map

• What to visit

  • Day 0 – 203km: Since we had a 125cc scooter we avoided highways like plague. It was, in one word, HOT. We decided to avoid the leather motorbike jacket. I remember, in the meanwhile of the driving, we filmed an instagram live. Wretches. Having a woman in the group means, often, 1 thing: toilet.
    I planned the trip in order to have a toilet at constant intervals. Departured at 2pm, we stopped in bars La Lepre, in Asti and Mirella in Cairo Montenotte. Anonymous places, in the middle of the flat land of at the feet of the hills, good for toilet.
    Good dinner in Savona’s McDonald’s (i’m in love with it) and we had our boarding around 8pm. Corsica Ferries always provides a good service.
  • From the Deck

  • Day 1 – 266km: The boat docks early in the morning in Bastia. The sun is rising and the day is just warm. From Bastia port, passing through the Col de Teghime, it almost possible to have breakfast at Saint Florent, in Bar l’Europe placed in the local square.
    La Citadelle de Calvi is the next stop. “Calvus” was the latin term describing the rock on which the stronghold has been built by Genoese people in XV sec. If you look 144° you can find the Monte Cinto. A perfect appetizer can be taken in Casa Vinu, just at the bottom of the castle.
    From that point the road changes from a large highway to a little and intricate way: with a 2 wheels it’is a pleasure. We stopped in 2nd pool of Fango Valley (the river gives the name to the valley) and we had a refreshing bath. U Morru for lunch (France is great for eating: few dishes, but very tasty, even if a little expensive for italian standards) and, in the middle of the afternoon we had a bath in one of the most famous beach in Corsica: Plage de Ficaghjola, near Piana.
    The time was running out, so we had dinner in the typical french franchise “Courtepaille” in Ajaccio and slept in the Best western hotel. The swimming pool has a beautiful view on cost of Ajaccio.
    Courtepaille deserve a special mention: it’s, in short, a Mc Donald’s of higher quality. Also prices are higher but it’s quite delicious for me.
  • Monte d'Oru

  • Day 2 – 279km: This day started with a breakfast in Caffe’ Romana, in the central area of Ajaccio.
    We decided to visit Corte, passing throught the “col de Vizzavona”, 1183m asl. During this road i decided to study chinese language starting from the following autumn.
    Corte is a beautiful town impregnated with history: the local “Museum of Corsica” reminds how big was the importance of this city for the advocates of independence. Restaurant de la Place, in front of the statue of a leader of independence movements, Pasquale Paoli, was our base after arriving. From Point Belvedere is possible to admire the whole valley. This is the end of the wilder side of Corsica. From Corte to Solenza and Porto Vecchio the road is quite normal. The days were always hot but the spirit of adventure and also a certain harmony among the family made it all pleasant.
    Finally Bonifacio was seen from our helmets. I never seen the Sémaphore de Pertusato so close. In the beginning of XIX sec, the responsible commission arrived for determining the appropriate location of five flagship chip designed to encircle the island of beauty. Pertusato was the most impressive project, as it had required transportation of all materials landed on steep-sided rocky outcrop, and moving them to the top of the island on donkey’s backs. “Pertusato” means “Pierced”, like the famous, white rock in front of it.
    The Gouvernail has been the last visit of this trip. The name means “rudder” because of the special shape of this final extent of Bonifacio, in which the Citadel is built.
    After this we sailed towards Palau, with the last ferry, at 8pm, at only 30′ from Santa Teresa, the ferry’s landing.

• How to get here

End of june 2017; Civil Twilight: 05:16 – 05:50 ; 21:04 – 21:38, Total 16:14
Boat cost: AR 310€ – 2 persons, cabin and motorbike. Without cabin 171€ (suggested)
Average hotel cost: 270€/night – 1 room, 4 persons
Motorbike cost: 748 km (~45€) travelled

• Notes

Corsica_Koppen
Here you can find what i think it the better climate in the world, the Csb, the “warm dry-summer” according to Köppen climate classification. At high altitude, such as in Haut Asco, it’s possible to find the rare Csc (“cold dry-summer”) climate.
This reminds to me a particular sleepless night, you can read something here.
I was first impressed by this region because of the several times i visited Bonifacio with the inflatable boat in my adolescence and childhood.

From that moment my curiosity about how was the remaining part of the region increased.
My first real trip discovering Corsica has been in June 2017, in the final part. With 2 scooters, me and my family started from our home in Cuorgne’ and reached Bastia using only secondary roads (my scooter is a 125cc, not allowed in the highway traffic).
Once in Corsica you can notice from the starting particular lights and smells… If the day is shining it’s really a good experience.

A central spine of mountains running north–south right along its length, makes travel from (and communication between) one side to the other difficult, isolates Corsicans even from themselves.

Brief history

  • Approx. 4500 BCE. first stable settlements
  • xxx-430 CE. Phoenicians, Greeks, Etruscans and Carthaginians and finally the Roman period
  • 430-833. Barbarian period, especially Saracen
  • 833-XII sec. Tuscany domination. Bonifacio II of Tuscany.
  • XII sec-1420. Pisan and then Genoese domination. Corsica becomes a fortress.
  • During Italian War of 1551–1559 Corsica is conquered by Dragut, Andrea Doria and finally assigned to Genoa again (Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis)
  • Corsican Republic (1755–1769). Enlightenment start to infuse self-ruling feeling into population. Genoa sells Corsica to France since it’s not able to fight Paoli. France defeats Paoli in 1769.
  • Anglo-Corsican Kingdom (1794-1796). During the french revolution Paoli is seen as an hero.
  • XIX century. Telegraph to Sardinia and Algeria from La Spezia
  • WWI: massive participation but also many losses. No manpower to work results in migrations.
  • Contemporary age: area focused on tourism

• What to eat

Corsican cuisine has much in common with italian cuisine (as well as the language) and only marginally with the one of Nice and Provence.
The most spread products are Chestnut, Cheese, Charcuterie (cold cuts, main of “porcu nustrale”, the corsican pig), Olive oil, Wine (notable is the one produced in Patrimonio area for example)
Personally i find breakfasts very satisfying: with aroubd 10€ you can have a full meal with coffee, milk, orange juice, butter, bread and jam. And maybe even a brioche.
In Cargese, at Le Yuka i tasted a fantastic salad made by dark tomatoes with various other vegatables and many other meats.
In Bonifacio i tasted “Aubergines farcies à la bonifacienne”, a kind of eggplant stuffed with cheese and bread.

• Photo gallery


Olmeto

Olmeto tower in south of Corsica.

Bonifacio tourist map

Lavezzi Island, the southernmost point of metropolitan France

Col de Teghime

Col de Teghime, connecting Bastia to Saint Florent

Golfe de Girolata

Golfe de Girolata, under Calvi

Derbi

My scooter, a Derbi GP1 125 of 2006

Colazione in capitaneria

Hydrogenated fats, be careful

Scala di Aragona

Built on one night to ensure water supply during a siege

Pertusato lighthouse

Pertusato lighthouse, 1844. Active; focal plane 100 m (328 ft); two white flashes every 10 s

Bastia

Sunrise over Bastia at ferry landing

Sunset

View of the white cliffs of Bonifacio at sunset

Capo Fenu

All along this path, you will encounter the remains of buildings confirming human activity of the past

Sunset II

It indicates the port of Bonifacio and a first approach to the military heritage
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