From the gently rolling hills of Tuscany we now find ourselves in the rugged mountains and craggy coastline of Corsica.
It’s French but not really.
The Corsicans are fiercely independent as is evident by the many bi-lingual roadsigns that have had the French obliterated.
There are even T-Shirts with the same motifs.
Corsica has been independent twice and even briefly came under British rule during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Genoese governed the island from 1347 to 1729 and many of their towers still remain dotted along the coastline.
The new invasion is from the rich and possibly famous, who moor their luxury yachts conspicuously close to the best waterside restaurants.
We started in St. Florent with side trips to Murato, Vallecalle, Canari and L’Île-Rousse. We then moved south to Ajaccio, the capital city of Corsica and birthplace of Napoleon.
Not surprisingly things Napoleonic are everywhere, from the many restaurants and hotels bearing his name, to the Place d’Austerlitz (Napoleon’s monument) high on the hill overlooking the city.
Le Petit Caporal certainly has the best view in Ajaccio.
We then headed south to Porto Vecchio, a town that’s really only been fully habitable since the fifties.
It has an excellent natural port, that was first discovered by the Romans and a low lying swamp that’s been home to Malaria carrying mosquitos for a lot longer.
The disease was finally irradiated by the Allies, to safeguard the forces stationed there, during World War II.
While at Porto Vecchio we did another side trip to the Araghju site, a 3,700 year old Bronze Age fortification, with a commanding position overlooking the surrounding area.
We then continued further up the windy mountain roads to the Barrage de I’Ospedale, a tranquil lake, surrounded by pine trees and rocky slopes.
Our last day on Corsica was spent in Bonifacio, a Tuscan fortress town perched high on a cliff and only a hour by ferry to Sardinia, our next stop.