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Corsica    

 

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This beautiful island is found in the Mediterranean to the south east of France, 100 miles south of the Riviera. Surrounded by beaches, Corsica is a land of contrasts and a varied terrain of lakes, forests and mountains, some of which are over 2,000 metres high. Called "Kalliste" which means "the most beautiful" by the ancient Greeks, its area is 3,400 square miles. The lovely island has vineyards, olive and orange groves and the trees vary from palms to pine.  There are lakes and fast flowing streams in the mountains.  One natural feature of Corsica is scrublands, called the "maquis" where strongly scented myrtle grows.  The forests have many deciduous trees such as beech, chestnut and oak as well as pine trees.   Corisica is the sunniest place in France

 

 

Departments and Main Towns

Departments

Corse-du-Sud (20A) Main Town Ajaccio which is also capital city of Corsica.  This is the southern part of the island.  Haute-Corse (20B)  - Main Town Bastia

The Maison Bonaparte is situated in Ajaccio.  It is a museum but was the home of Napolean Bonaparte who was born in Ajaccio.

 

Languages   

French, Corsican and Italian.  Corsican is taught in the schools of the island.

 

Wines

The grapes used to make Corsican wines are of Italian origin!

Muscat du Cap Corse

Niellucio (Niellucciu)- light red and rose

Sciacarello (Sciaccarellu)( schiuchitajolu)- light red and rose

Vermentino (Vermentinu)- white

 

Cheese

Brocciu - an A.O.C. Cheese which is often eaten with dried figs.

 

Produce

Olive oil and tobacco

 

Specialities

Chesnuts boiled with fennel

Suppa Corsa,  soup made from kidney beans, noodles, onions and Brocciu cheese.

Coppa -smoked shoulder of pork

Lonzo - smoked fillet of pork

Figatelli - sausage made with pigs liver

 

 

History

The island was invaded by many different neighbouring countries whose people had their own beliefs and the influence of Carthaginians, Goths, Greeks, Moors, Romans and Vandals remain. However it was and is above all uniquely Corsican. In the 11th to the 13th centuries, Corsica was a colony of the then Tuscan republic of Pisa.  Many of its beautiful buildings date back to that time. In 1769, to the chagrin of the islanders, Corsica was sold by the Genoese to Louis XV of France for 40 million francs and thus, this the third largest of the islands in the Mediterranean became French but maintained its Italian influence.  It had been under Geonese rule from the 1400's  although following a rebellion in 1755 Corsica became a republic under the leadership of Pasquale Paoli.  The Corsicans were quite furious about not only losing their independence but also becoming a part of France and since that time there has been an ongoing struggle and a separatist movement became particularly active from the 1970's with bombing of police stations and government buildigs.  However in November 2003 the main faction declared an open-ended truce.