Its surface area makes of Sartene the biggest town of Corsica and the eleventh in France.
It reveals itself as a village perched on the Monte Rosso.
It is, for Prosper Mérimée, the most Corsican of the corsican towns.
A FEW NUMBERS
Population : 3496 inhabitants ( FNISES Sources 20014 )
HISTORY OF SARTENE
Numerous archaeological sites indicate the presence of prehistoric human habitation in the region of Sartene.
You can also see menhirs and dolmens.
Even if on first sight Sartene seems to be an old town, the contrary is actually true.
In fact, after defeating Rinuccio Della Rocca, the Genovese found the town in 1507.
It is built on huge cliffs, making access difficult and thus preventing invasions.
The Pitraghju quarter (16th century)
The “place de la Libération” (the former “place de la Porta”, old entrance to the town under a loggia)
The ramparts of the town are built between 1550 and 1552.
Despite the construction of Genovese towers around the island to alert the inhabitants of any invasion and despite the additional fortifications, a sense of insecurity continues to prevail in Corsica.
In 1583 Hassan Veneziano, the king of Algiers, attacks Sartene and kidnaps 400 Sartenese (who are rapidly replaced by the inhabitants of the surrounding countryside) to make them slaves.
Once again the town is seized, this time by Giafferi in 1732.
Access is easy and its fertile hinterland makes it very attractive for agricultural purposes.
However, the town quickly becomes a target for pirates, and so in 1539 a fortification, i.e. the citadel, is built.
Aside from the invasions, the town also sees constant internal fighting between the peasants from the surrounding mountain area and the rich property owners.
Clashes between different parts of the town, e.g. the Borgu quarter with its inhabitants of Taravais origin against the Sant’Anna quarter, with its inhabitants of Sartenese origin….
The first part of the 19th century is a very bloody period for the region of Sartene.
CULTURAL HERITAGE OF SARTENE
– The Pitraghju district ( 16th century )
– The Libération Square ( ancient la Porta square – entry of the town under a loggia )
– The Sainte Marie Church with its bell tower with 3 floors ( 18th century )
– The museum, ancient jail of de the town ( 19th century )
SPECIFICITIES OF SARTENE
To this day Sartene remains a very Christian town.
Every Good Friday the «catenaccia» is celebrated, i.e. an anonymous, repentant sinner with chains on his feet and carrying a heavy cross must walk 1.8 km in memory of Christ’s ascent to Golgotha.
Each year, you may attend the carnival of Sartene in end of April, beginning of May with floats parade, dancers… a very festive moment in the town !