Corte ancient capital of Corsica, to discover its citadel
This one is practically located in equidistance between Ajaccio ( 85km ) and Bastia ( 70km ).
It is a part of the french department of Upper Corsica at 750 metres height up against the 2 valleys : this of Tavignanu and this of Restonica
-Le Niolu : a high plateau with the highest peaks in Corsica, e.g. Monte Cinto, and with the highest villages of the island.
-Le Bozio : includes Castagniccia.
-L’Ascu : A magnificent valley with numerous rivers and streams with natural pools. In this region there is a wildlife reserve, which is part of the Natura 2000 network.
-Le Venacais : a rural area with pine and beech tree forests, the most famous being the forests of Noceta/ Rospigliani and Vizzanova
A few numbers about Corte
Population of Corte : 6747 inhabitants (FNISES 2007 Sources)
Surface Area of Corte : 14 927 ha
Transport for Corte
Corte is linked up to the towns of Bastia and Ajaccio by the departmental road 93.
The town has a railway station directed by SNCF stopping in Bastia and Ajaccio ( only railway line on the island ).
History of Corte
Corte has always been a bastion of Corsican nationalism.
In the 14th century it falls into the hands of the Genovese.
Under the reign of the King of Aragon, Lord Vincetello of Istria liberates the town from the Genovese.
After beating King of Aragon’s troops in Biguglia he builds the citadel of Corte in 1420.
In 1553, the French king sends Sampieru Corso, who is described as «the most Corsican of all Corsicans», to the island under the command of General de Thermes, so as to fight against the Republic of Genoa.
As soon as he is there, he ignites an uprising and seizes Corte, where the inhabitants rally to his cause.
This sovereignty lasts until 1555 when he is ordered back by France, who in 1556 signs a five-year peace treaty with the Genovese enemy.
Thus the town comes back under Genovese rule.
In 1746, General Gaffori seizes the citadel of Corte. He proclaims himself master of Central Corsica.
In 1751 he his named General of the Nation, but on October 3, 1753 he is killed in an ambush in the Saint Pancrace quarter, one of his aggressors being no other than his own brother. This murder is said to have been commissioned by the Genovese.
Then, from 1765 to 1769, Corte is the capital of the independent Corsica under Pascal Paoli.
He gets a constitution approved, which is inspired by Montesquieu and based on the separation of powers.
Pascal Paoli decides to make the Corsicans “an enlightened and educated people” that can collectively govern their country.
So he founds a university in Corsica, which is inaugurated on January 3, 1765 and where philosophy, theology, mathematics and law as well as the principles of medicine and surgery are taught.
Cultural Heritage of Corte
- The Citadel ( 1420 ) built by Vincentello d’Istria
- The museum of Corsica situated in the citadel built in the Serrurier barracks
- Annonciade Church ( 1450 )
- The National Palace of Corte – former residence of the Genovese governor, which is the seat of Pascal Paoli’s government from 1755 to 1769 and of the first university of Corsica.
- The Belvedere – The most ancient part of the fortress from the 15th century
- The Baptistery
- The Pascal Paoli Square with its statue of bronze ( 1854 )
- The Gaffori Square with its statue of bronze ( 1901 )
- The park in the memory of Pierre Griffi ( hero of the resistance )
- The Santa Mariona Di Talcini Pieve – religious building of the 12th century and the 13th century.
Natural Heritage of Corte and its region
The land of eagles and mouflons, the region of Central Corsica is also called the “land of shepherds”.
Surrounded by mountains and lakes, the region of Central Corsica or «Centru di Corsica» has high peaks with steep rock faces from which numerous streams tumble down towards the deep valleys, which are surrounded by pine and beech tree forests: e.g. the valleys of Tavignanu and Restonica with their magnificent natural pools.
There are also many lovely lakes in this region, e.g. the lakes of Melo and Capitello, which you can see on the GR20 trail.