Piana is situated in a prime position looking over the sea in a beautiful bay surrounded by granite headlands plunging into the clear waters. Ruled by Seigneurs de Leca in the 15th century, they governed a vast area on the west coast and rebelled against the ruling Genoese. They were eventually massacred alongside other defenders of the parish and the Genoese banned anyone form living there which only came to life again, once the Genoese influence declined.
Anse de Ficajola
This lovely cove was once Piana’s little port. It is reached by a short steep road that loops down to the shore from the central junction in Piana. Stunning views make it a lovely drive and 10 minutes walk along a stone stairway lead to the tiny cove of red rocks and limpid sea. Again, the sun disappears fairly early in the afternoon.
The town beach is an exposed pebble beach situated south of the rock upon which stands the Genoese tower. It shelves steeply and can be dangerous if the sea is rough or it is a windy day. However, the crags overshadowing the shore set a spectacular scene and there is great snorkelling from the rocks to the south.
Plage de Bussaglia
Not far from Piana, this is a pebbly cove and the first strand of beach accessible by car from Porto. There are a couple of Pizzerias open in high season which also serve nice salads and seafood.
Plage de Caspio
A pebble beach, 3km down the road to the coast from Partinello. It is very popular with locals and has a beach bar. Be aware that the sun is obscured behind the cliff in the afternoons during the summer.
Plage de Gradelle
This shingle beach at Osani has a deep translucent sea and fantastic views of the Calanches and Capo d’Orto. However, due to a nearby campsite it can get busy during July and August.
A superb, sandy beach with crystal clear waters. It shelves quickly so take care with non swimmers. Although it can get crowded in the summer, tracks lead through the rocks on either side to other, more secluded coves (where the snorkelling is excellent). There is also a pleasant pizzeria.
Fete de la Saint Erasme – Ajaccio - June
Mass and procession honouring the patron saint of fishermen through the streets of the old town and out to sea. The population is invited to come aboard the boats to follow this procession on the water after the priest blesses the boats.
Fête de L’Assomption – Ajaccio - August
In addition to the religious celebrations for the Assumption, there are also commemorative festivities marking the birth of Emperor Napoleon 1st, which makes this date the high point of the summer season in Ajaccio.
Festival du Film Italien – Ajaccio - September
The discovery of countries and their inhabitants through cinema. During this festival, Corsica welcomes directors and numerous actors, with spectators voting after the screening of each film.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
The coast of the Gulf of Porto is one of Corsica's most famous landscapes. The pinnacles and ravines of the red granite Calanches soar out of beautiful blue seas framed by the jagged peaks of Paglia Orba. They are best explored by foot or by boat. There are daily boat trips from Porto that visit this UNESCO world heritage site. Porto is hidden at the end of the gulf, and although deprived of the best views, it is well placed for exploring and has plenty of amenities. The Route de la Marine, lined with stately old eucalyptus trees, links the two parts of the resort. A strip of supermarkets, cafés and hotels is at one end of the village but the focus of activity is in the marina. Amongst other amenities there is an established aquarium and a helpful tourist office. Piana is balanced on plunging cliffs and despite its prime location overlooking the Calanches, it retains its sleepy feel and does not suffer the crowds of tourists. It comprises of a cluster of old stone houses arranged around an 18th century church and square, from the edge of which the views over the gulf are sublime.
Stacked slabs, towering pinnacles and gnarled, claw-like outcrops of rock were formed by volcanic eruptions 250 million years ago and a subsequent erosion has fashioned spectacular shapes in the rock. The colours are remarkable and vary from charcoal grey to incandescent reds and rusty purples which strike a vivid contrast with the deep green maquis and the cobalt blue sea. The headland and its surrounding waters were declared a nature reserve in 1975, so wildlife is as varied here as anywhere in Corsica. Dolphins and seals thrive, and colonies of giant gulls and cormorants inhabit the cliffs. Ospreys are found here, their huge nests visible from the sea and there are regular sightings of Peregrine falcons. Rare indigenous plants grow freely, but as the entire reserve is off limits to hikers, flora spotters are deprived the chance to further investigate.
Corsica's diminutive capital sparkles with a buzz reminiscent of the Cote d'Azur and is the largest town on the island. His place of birth, Napoleon gave the town international fame and visitors cannot escape his presence. It is an attractive town and boasts a wealth of cafés, restaurants and shops. The old town has charming ancient streets opening out onto the old port. Cours Napoleon, lined with boutiques and brasseries. There is Napoleon's house (Maison Bonaparte), Musée Capitellu, the Citadel and Musée Fesch. A local produce market is held every morning Mon-Sat at Place Cesar-Campinchi. The promenade along the Route des Sanguinaires is a pleasant place to stroll. The Nave Va company run boat trips from the old port near the Citadel, as well as further afield (Bonifacio, Porto and the Calanches). Northwest is the nearest of the Bonaparte family's houses. Les Millelli is an18th century building with a wonderful olive grove (great for picnics).
The tortoise park of "A Cupulatta" makes a good family day out.
Located half an hour away on the N193 in the small village of Vero, the park, which is home to some 150 different species of tortoises and turtles.
The site is open every day from 9am to 7pm in the summer and from 10am to 5.30pm during the rest of the year.