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.
Festival du Film Japonais – Ajaccio - May
All art and culture of Japan will be celebrated. This new and atypical event in Corsica reveals the great wealth and beauty of the traditions and expression of Japanese art. Famous guests will come and present cinematographic, pictoral, theatrical, literary and even gastronomic works!
Jazz in Aiacciu – Ajaccio - 24th-28th June
Ajaccio hosts a jazz festival every year, showcasing some of the most exciting artists of the international and French jazz scene today.
Fête de la Musique – June
Numerous free live music events are held each year across the island on 21st June.
Fête 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 Napoléon 1st, which makes this date the high point of the summer season in Ajaccio.
Les Fêtes Napoléoniennes – Ajaccio - August
Ajaccio celebrates the August birthday of Corsica's most famous son with period processions and a fireworks display.
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.
Boat trip to Scandola
Alternatively, take a boat trip to the Calanches. There are daily boat trips with the Columbo line from Porto that visit this UNESCO world heritage site. Stacked slabs, towering pinnacles and gnarled, claw-like outcrops of rock were formed by volcanic eruptions at Scandola 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.
Ajaccio & les Iles Sanguinaires
Ajaccio, Corsica's diminutive capital sparkles with Mediterranean buzz reminiscent of the Côte d'Azur and is the largest town on the island. It is an attractive town with an exceptionally mild climate and boasts a wealth of cafés, restaurants and chic shops. The old town is especially charming with a cluster of ancient streets spreading north and south of the Place Foch, which opens out onto the seafront by the old port. The Place de Gaulle forms the town centre. Following on from this is the Cours Napoléon, lined with chic boutiques and brasseries, and running parallel to the beach for almost 2km. There are plenty of places to visit including Napoléon's house (Maison Bonaparte), Musée Capitellu, the Citadel and Musée Fesch. There is also a local produce market held every morning Mon-Sat at Place Cesar-Campinchi providing an ideal scene to capture the essence of local life as you watch the world go by.
Visit the isolated village of Girolata set against red granite cliffs on the north west coast, only reachable by boat or on foot.
Drive to Corte
Heading east towards Corte through the Deux-Sorru and Deux-Sevi regions of the island, presents a rather challenging, but definitely rewarding, drive, along the D84 through Calacuccia. The remoteness of this area of the island has helped preserve some of the rarest forms of wildlife, including wild boar, eagles, red kite, the Corsican nuthatch and the, rarely seen, Corsican savage cat, the Gjhattu Volpe. There are several walks marked from the road and numerous rock pools for bathing (look out for the signs for piscine naturelle). There is an excellent walk to the Lac di Nino at the foot of Monte Tozzu and the Cascade Radule. The road passes through the Forêt d'Aitone, in which there are thousands of Laricio Pines, some over 50m tall and over the Col de Vergio and through the Laricio Pine forest of the Valdo-Niellu.The stretch to Corte then follows the route of the 19th century road that clings to the side of the vertiginous ravine of the Golo River.
Cargèse and Sagone
Cargèse is at the northernmost tip of the bay and is a charming cliff top village with an unusual history and ancestry linked to the Greek Peloponnese. Even today there are both Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches although both are presided over by the same minister. The whole Gulf of Sagone (Corsica's largest gulf) is characterised by long curves of sandy beaches stretching 40km from Capo di Feno up to the Punto di Cargese. Sagone is further south and thrives as a water sports centre whilst Tiuccia is tucked into the Gulf of Liscia at the easternmost indent and has a trio of minor historic sights. Two 17th century Genoese watchtowers and the other, the ruined Castellu di Capraja. It is the most sheltered spot and has a fine golden beach.