The village of Corte is the symbol of Corsica’s resistance against the rule of Genoa. It was here that the Corsican headquarters were organised in the war against the Genoese, which lasted 14 years starting in 1755. The war of independence was won but freedom was short-lived because the French subsequently arrived to occupy the island. In spite of all its historical vicissitudes, Corte has remained the centre of Corsican nationalist sentiment, which is still alive in a large part of the population.
Apart from its historical importance, Corte is also of touristic significance. The fortified Citadel, situated on a rocky spur in a dominant position above the town, is a sight worth seeing. As is the Church of the Annunciation and the regional anthropological museum that offers visitors an insight into the historical and cultural evolution of Corsica as a whole.
Its construction began in 1419 under the direction of the Viceroy of Corsica appointed by the King of Aragon, Vicentello d’Istria. It was during this period that the Eagle’s Nest, the castle perched on its rocky promontory, was built. The citadel underwent several changes over the centuries and was later occupied by Corsican, Genoese and French lords.
The military buildings served as barracks but also as a prison, especially during World War II when many Corsican resistance fighters were imprisoned there. The citadel has been declared a historical monument.
This important museum is located in the Serrurier barracks, close to the citadel and houses The collections of the Musée de la Corse are divided into 3 areas
It is located before the entrance to the citadel and offers the best view of the Eagle’s Nest. Positioned on a promontory overlooking the town, the belvedere offers a magnificent 360° panorama of the Restonica and Tavignano valleys.
Unmissable on clear, sunny days.
Located in the upper town, this beautiful pizza was the birthplace of Jean-Pierre Gaffory, head of the Corsican nationalist government in the mid-18th century. It was he who led the revolution against the Genoese before being assassinated. Numerous holes, attributed to bullet holes, can be seen on the façade of his house. A statue of Gaffory was erected in front of his house in his honour.
In the square, where there are some bars and restaurants, you can also admire the Church of the Annunziata: its bell tower dominates the entire city. Also worth seeing in the area is the National Palace, the seat of Corsica’s central government and the residence of Pascal Paoli, Gaffory’s successor. And the residence of the Arrighi de Casanova, a noble family of the Court. It was the residence of Napoleon Bonaparte’s parents, Charles and Laeticia, for a long period.
The 4 cannons fountain is located not far from Gaffory Square, on the Commander Ignace Montei ramp. In pyramid style, the fountain was erected at the same time as the ramparts of the citadel and today gives the small square a picturesque appearance.
It is the city’s main shopping street, the busiest and full of restaurants, boutiques, cafés and bakeries. It starts at Place du Duc de Padoue and ends at Place Paoli, where there is a statue of Pascal Paoli, one of the emblematic figures and heroes of Corsican independence.
Nicknamed ‘the father of the fatherland and the forerunner of democracy in Europe and champion of the sovereignty of the people, he founded the University of Corte, which still exists today and is the only university on the island.
On the initiative of the Corsican Environmental Office, several local heritage trails have been set up to enhance the territory and its history.
From Corte, the heritage trail starts from the hamlet of Baliri and takes you along the Tavignanu through remnants of crops, vegetable gardens, mills and across the Genoese bridge. It then climbs towards the historic centre and the belvedere. Calculate about a 1-hour walk to cover the 2 km: an easy route, with no particular difficulty.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
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