In the heart of the Corsican mountains, Corte is spectacularly set amongst brooding granite mountains with its Citadel rising high up from a rocky outcrop, the rooftops of the old town cascading down to a warren of narrow, cobbled streets, surrounded by the craved out gorges of former bandit country. Unlike the Genoese fortress towns along the coast, Corte was governed by Pascal Paoli after he stormed the Citadel in 1755. This was Paoli's capital - often called the "spiritual" capital, and the town epitomises inland Corsica.
This area of Corsica is furthest away from the beaches however being in the centre of the island, the beaches of the east coast are just under an hour’s drive away. If you fancy a nearer ‘dip’ then the amazing gorges are right on your doorstep providing a bathing opportunity in the cool fresh mountain waters of the interior.
A Fiera Di U Casgiu - Venaco - May
A Fiera di U Casgiu, is a rural cheese and local produce fair in Venaco, as seen on Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes.
Cavall’In Festa - Corte - June
Horse shows and parades, activities for children, rides, horse-drawn carriages and dressage are all part of the programme.
Fête de la Musique - June
Numerous free live music events are held each year across the island on 21st June.
Festiballu - Corte - June
Traditional dance and music festival (mainly violin) with fiddlers from many other countries as well as Corsica.
Bastille Day - 14th July
A nationwide celebration to commemorate the French Revolution and the end of the 'Ancien Régime' with various parades, night time animations and firework displays.
Foire Du Pratu: A Bocca Di U Pratu - Quercitello - August
Between the last weekend in July and the first weekend in August you will be able to meet breeders, their flocks and their herds. You will be able to sample various Corsican recipes, specialities and obtain a variety of local gastronomic produce. As well as this there will be local arts, crafts and products.
Foire de Saint Roch - Renno - August
The “mountain days” offers a varied programme: films, exhibitions, music, singing, dancing, theatre and debates with writers.
Festimonti - Bocognano - September
The Corsican mountains festival provides an eclectic programme of treks on foot, bicycle or on horseback; various initiations to climbing, canyoning, acrobranche or hang-gliding. Projection of films related to the mountains and debates will also be proposed.
THINGS TO SEE & DO
The town centre of Corte is one long street through the centre of a valley lined with small shops and stores. As well as strolling in an out of the various shops you can people watch from one of the many pavement cafes and eateries in the main street against the back drop of the surrounding interior scenery.
Escorted treks of differing lengths into the mountains including a picnic lunch near Corte can be booked. Riding schools often advertise beside the roads using the word 'ranch' or a picture of a horse. There are riding centres (centre équestres) in Venaco. Standards are generally very high and horses are in prime condition. When booking a trek don't forget to mention whether or not you are experienced. During the heat of the summer, rides are usually limited to early morning and early evening.
The Restonica Valley
This is probably one of the most beautiful and dramatic areas in Corsica, with its glacial gorges carved into the granite cliffs, which are covered in verdant pine forests. The valley takes its name from the Restonica River, which flows through the cliffs and gorges to the many pools and lakes, dotted around and about, making this a popular place to walk and picnic. The two most well known lakes Lac de Melo and the spectacular Lac de Capitello are accessible by foot via a rather strenuous and in some places steep path.
The Spelunca Gorge
Spanning 2km between the villages of Ota and Evisa this gorge is a formidable sight with its bare granite walls. 1000m high in places it plunges into the green torrent of the confluence of rivers Porto, Tavulella, Onca, Campi and Aitone. The most dramatic views are seen from the road but the valleys and riverbanks are best explored on foot. Evisa is set in lush chestnut forests on the eastern side of the gorge and due to its attraction for walkers has several lunch stops, ranging from modest pizzerias to gastronomic offerings.
This covers roughly 100km² extending from the River Golo in the north as far as the River Tavignano in the south and the central mountains to the west. It is famous for the herds of pigs that roam its lush countryside and takes its name from the dense forests of chestnut trees (castagna). Many of the inland villages boast views over the Tuscan islands to the Alpes on the mainland on clear days and it is well worth taking the car and meandering around the isolated hamlets. The villages are linked by dozens of footpaths (the old mule tracks), mostly well marked and signposted with wooden signposts, and keen walkers should not miss the hike up Mont San Pedrone, the highest peak of the Castagniccia.