There are four main assets around which Ajaccio´s tourist fortune revolves: the fact that it is the
capital of Corsica, its reputation as a spa centre, the naturalist heritage of the surrounding hills and, last but not least, the historical record that derives from being the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Sea, mountain, history and culture are the aspects that most enrich your stay in Ajaccio. Begin
to discover its beauties by going to Place d´Austerlitz, one of the city´s main panoramic spots.
The square´s history dates back to the beginning of the 18th century when the Jewish owners of the
site decided to build the famous "casone" (literally "big house") on the land to which it extends and the whole hill down to the sea.
After the French Revolution and Bonaparte´s rise to power, the estate was bought by Joseph
Bonaparte in 1797 and, a few years later, became the property of Cardinal Fesch, who planned to found a study centre there.
Neglected until 1921, it was not until 1935 that the Napoleon Monument Committee opened a public
tender to erect an altar on the Place du Casone (now the Place d´Austerlitz) with a copy of the statue of the Emperor made by Charles-Emile-Marie Seurre in 1833, now standing on the column in the Place Vendôme in Paris.
In March 1937, the make-up of the monument, which was in Nice, arrived in Ajaccio and the work was entrusted to the League of Great Works of Marseille.
The inauguration of the monument in 1938 inspired four days of celebration, from August 14 to 17,
when Mussolini and fascist Italy planned to annex Corsica.
The bronze statue represents the Emperor in a frontal and standing pose and crowns a monumental
granite pyramid. The set is introduced by a ladder enclosed by two bronze eagles with open wings. Etched at the foot of the mausoleum is a list of all the battles won by the general in his political and military career. There is also a legend that has contributed to turning this place into a tourist
attraction over time. Indeed, just behind the monument is a granite cave in which, it is said, Napoleon liked to take refuge as a child.
Climb to the top of the monument and enjoy the view!
Address: Place d´Austerlitz
The discovery of a region also passes through the taste buds. The Ajaccio market is ideal were
colours, sounds, smells, and flavours combine to create a wonderful sensory, folk, and authentic dance.
An essential element in the diet and culture of Corsica is the delicatessen. It is part of the identity of Corsica as well as its polyphony, its language, its rich history.
Corsica salaisonniers have been proud to promote this heritage for more than a century (the oldest member company of the Consorziu, the defence body of the IGP Charcuterie de l´Île de Beauté, was founded in 1830).
The taste qualities characteristic
of the charcuterie of the Island of Beauty Ilha are linked to the specific
techniques that developed on the island, regarding its relief and its natural
resources, and has allowed the preservation of the characteristic flavours of
Therefore, the processing techniques they use reflect these local specificities:
- Salting is done with
dry salt scrubbing. Then, black pepper is added to reveal the flavours of the meat.
- Sausages are
stuffed with natural pork guts. The filler is pushed manually or mechanically.
The animal´s intestine is removed, emptied, washed, degreased, drained, turned
upside down and salted before processing. Then the guts are arranged with ropes
to close them and hung by hand.
- In the past,
smoking was carried out in the chimney of Corsican houses, used both for cooking and heating. The practice of smoking was generally linked to the activity of growing chestnut, which occupied an important place in insular agriculture as a source of food and heat, smokes and dry sausages, giving them the aromatic touch that exalted the taste buds. Today, this process is carried out in the smoke house. Controlling the internal and external temperature is almost an art.
Among the top products, we highlight the Figatellu de l´Île de Beauté, raw liver sausage in the
form of U. It is obtained from minced meat, off lard seasoned in natural pork gut, lightly smoked with Corsican wood and dried. Rich in liver, the taste is strong and distinct. Depending on the percentage of pig liver incorporated, its colour will usually be amber to brown or even dark.
It´s hard to resist this temptation!
Address: Marcatu d´Aiacciu. Boulevard du Roi Jérôme 7
Many believe deeply in the power of the evil eye. It is not always clear who may be the victim, so it is advisable to carry a protective fetish.
Corsican artisans have been developing different brands for several years, offering bracelets with lucky charms. We can name creators such as A MaNu, which promotes Made in Corcega.
MaNu is a brand of Corsican and handmade jewellery in semiprecious stones, which offers a wide range of bracelets for men, women and children. Each piece in gold or silver is equipped with an amulet representing the figa, best known in its coral form.
The name A MaNu was chosen for its double meaning, "handmade" and "the hand" represented in each jewellery amulet.
The creator is Bastien Rebattel, a native of Nîmes, who fell in love with the island many years ago, but first of all, fell in love with a Corsican!
The products and all the wooden packaging contribute enormously to captivate the customer´s
attention. Pearls come from all over the world: pencil-lazium from Afghanistan, jasper from Africa, amethyst from Brazil and many others.
The fig is also called black hand, the mighty hand, fist, signe de la figue... hides under its appearance of simple ornament a world of ancestral beliefs. Its shape is a closed hand, showing the thumb between the index and middle fingers, indicating contempt and protection against impending evil.
It is an amulet to scare away the evil eye. Still, it is also used against envy and jealousy and protection against diseases. Its rupture indicates adequate protection; when the amulet has collected the negativity destined for its bearer, it is broken. In this case, you must bury it and replace it with a new one.
What are you waiting to buy one of these?
Address: A MaNu & Co. Cr Napoléon 46
Ajaccio is not a monumental city, but it has a magnet that attracts all kinds of visitors. That
has become the most photographed place, located in the heart of the historic centre, between narrow and romantic streets.
A simple bourgeois house with a small front garden, a light ochre façade and blue shutters, and a
sign above the entrance to remind you that Napoleon was born there.
We are talking about Maison Bonaparte, converted into a museum in 1967. The interiors have been
renovated, and there is an exhibition of objects, souvenirs, portraits, marble busts, the sofa on which it is said that Leticia (Napoleon´s mother) gave birth to that son destined to become famous on August 15, 1769.
The building offers an exciting view into the furniture and decorations of the second half of the
eighteenth century. Still, it would be an understatement to insist only on consideration of the design of the time.
From the historical point of view, it is much more interesting to investigate the alterations that
connect the Bonaparte family to the property they own and, more generally, to the destiny of Corsica.
The Bonaparte´s settled in a part of the house of Ajaccio that would take its name at the end
of the seventeenth century: gradually, through protracted negotiations and some interesting marriages, acquired the entire building, expanding it and transforming it into one of the most important in the area.
With the events that followed the outbreak of the Revolution, the Bonaparte´s were forced to leave
Ajaccio, where they would return at the end of 1796. On that date, Giuseppe, Napoleon´s older brother, would regain ownership of the family home, buy the apartment on the second floor, and hire swiss architect Samuel-Etienne Meuron to renovate the building. When Leticia joined the family in Paris in 1799, the completely renovated house was entrusted to Camille Ilari, the nanny and nurse of little Napoleon.
After several property changes between the heirs of the Bonaparte family, the house arrived in 1852 to Napoleon III. He instructs architect Alexis Piccard and painter Jérôme Maglioli to renovate while recovering the original lost furniture.
The Bonaparte house was sold to the French state in 1923, and in 1967 it became a national museum.
An indispensable place to photograph.
Address: Rue Saint Charles
The impregnable fortress
Seen from the sea, the solid and imposing bastions of the citadel of Ajaccio seem to challenge
Its origin dates back to French occupation (1553-59) when the Marshal of the Termes ordered this
structure to be built around a pre-existing castle. This area, already fortified since 1502, was reinforced with a moat, towers and high walls around it.
Her thousand and more years of life, her bonds with multiple destinies, with the plurality of human
lives, her lonely and proud beauty, everything in her lived that aura of mystery that gradually weaved around her.
Near the western walls, someone says that from time to time, there are still cries and groans of
those executed and tortured inside the dungeons, which were buried nearby. In the same place, disturbing tombs with giant skeletons dressed in strange black robes were found several times.
Other Corsican towns, such as Corte and Boniface, gradually lost their defensive role. Tourists are
now the guardians of the fortress of Ajaccio. So much so that even the city inhabitants have long been unaware of what lies behind these thick walls.
Because of its reputation as an unbeatable structure, in 2001, the citadel (still under military authority and closed to the public) became the vault for the greatest treasure the island has ever seen: the euros, in small notes and coins, which were about to replace the French francs.
Address: Boulevard Danièle Casanova
The path of the ridges
"I could recognize her with my eyes closed by the sweet aroma of her scrub": this is how Napoleon speaks of his Ajaccio, the city where he was born in 1769. Capital of a region of extraordinary variety, where high and rocky coasts alternate with soft beaches of magnificent sand, on the shores of a crystal-clear sea or deep, or low; inside, gentle hills covered with olive trees, then mountains
with chestnut trees and firtrees, even white peaks like snow: the multiform set of cultures and traditions merge, the shadow of a solid cultural identity.
If you want to relive the same sensations of the great Emperor, venture into the heights surrounding
A few steps from Ajaccio, there is a path that allows you to discover the natural beauties of the northern part of the gulf. The walk begins in front of the Bois des Anglais bus stop, where a sign reminds us of the basic safety rules.
The dirt road narrows and continues with long sharp curves in an arid landscape, a kingdom of cacti
and aloe. After about 40 minutes of ascent, you will reach the so-called"path of the peaks", which dominates the city and the bays of Ajaccio and offers a unique perspective of Monte de Oro, which stands out among the peaks of the interior.
After a short walk, you will see the silhouettes of îles sanguinaires, islands that stand out on the horizon; From here, a 30-minute descent will take you to Vignola´s central park and the route called la route des Sanguinaires, near bus stop 5/ Terre Sacrée. Below, you can see the old and the new cemetery while the path enters the maquis, stroking the eucalyptus trees. Along the way, you can admire a splendid series of beaches and coves from above.
Finally, take advantage of the region´s beaches and small bars and restaurants while you wait
to return to the centre of Ajaccio on bus no. 5
Address: Chemin du Bois des Anglais 7
Where it all began
The Cathedral of Ajaccio occupies a vital place to rebuild the childhood of the great general. It tells the story that Leticia, his mother, went to Mass on August 15 when he had contractions announcing the arrival of his son. She barely had time to get to the nearby house to give birth. You can also admire the marble baptistery where Napoleon was baptized in the cathedral.
The construction of the current Ajaccio Cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption, began in 1554. The
church was consecrated in 1593 to replace an earlier one demolished a few decades earlier. The warm ochre facade, restored in the 1990s, faces the Sea of Corsica, providing spiritual protection for the city and its maritime activities.
The building, commissioned by Monsignor Giulio Giustiniani (whose noble coat of arms, a castle and an eagle with extended wings can be seen above the portal), is smaller than initially planned and has three naves, with a not-sizable transept and a large choir. Along the corridors, there are three chapels on each side. The most important of the is dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy. There is a statue of the Virgin, an exact reproduction of a revered one in Savona (Italy) and called Madonnuccia by the people of Ajaccio. This patron saved the city from the plague in 1661 and solemnly celebrated on March 18.
On July 21, 1771, Napoleon was baptized in the Cathedral of Ajaccio, then one year old. The act
of baptism, which indicates the godparents of the future Emperor (Lorenzo Giuberga and Geltruda Bonaparte, the best friend and second older sister of his father, Carlo), is kept in the cathedral register. His sister Marie Anne was also baptized at the time, just over a month, but died shortly after that.
Tradition attributes the chapel of the Virgin of the Rosario, consecrated in 1765, to the Bonaparte
family. On a pillar near the entrance, a plaque expounded by a capital crowned with laurel recalls the last will expressed by Napoleon since his exile in St. Helena: he did not want his body returned to Paris. He wanted to be buried near his ancestors in the Cathedral of Ajaccio in Corsica.
Inside the church, in the chapel dedicated to Our Lady, you can admire paintings and walls attributed to Domenico Robusti, son of the famous Tintoretto and a miniature portrait of Delacroix representing the Virgin of the Sacred Heart (1822).
Address: Rue Forcioli Conti
Tours with Art
In a city of only 65,000 inhabitants, you will find one of the most important museums in France and Europe. We´re talking about The Palais Fesch in Ajaccio.
At 50 Rue Fesch, this building houses one of the most important collections of Italian art from ´300 to ´ 700.
In France, it loses only to the Louvre in Paris, with an added detail, however, that makes the museum even more fascinating.
During his stay in Italy, the prelate met the art of Bel Paese, falling in love with it to collect more than 17,000 works, most of them, as we said, paintings. Most of the works exhibited were part of the private collection of Cardinal Joseph Fesch, long ambassador of France to the Papal State and, above all, uncle of Napoleon Bonaparte. This explains the presence of Botticelli, Titian, Perugino, Bernini and many others. Other public and private collections were added throughout the
Among the masterpieces on display is The Virgin with the Child Jesus and an Angel under a Garland by Sandro Botticelli, the Man with the Glove of Titian (another painting of Tivice with a similar theme is exhibited in the Louvre) and canvases by Veronese and Bellini. This building is appreciated for the geometric rigour of its architecture and the square courtyard located in front of the museum, where the statue of Joseph Fesch stands out.
La Chapelle Impériale is also part of the Fesch Museum. By order of Napoleon III, according to the cardinal´s will, several members of the Bonaparte family are buried, starting with Napoleon´s parents, the ancestor Carlo and his wife,Leticia.
The monumental tomb of the Emperor at Les Invalides, where his remains were transferred from St.
Helena in 1840, celebrates the great general and Emperor. Napoleon would also like to be buried here, with his family, on his island, but his glory brought him to Paris. In Ajaccio, Napoleon is in a family version.
Treat yourself to a stroll through the spacious corridors of this substantial chest of art and work.
Address: Rue Fesch 50
Among palm trees and lions
Halfway between the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, of which we have just talked, and the Fesch
Museum, of which we will talk later, is the Place Foch, the heart of the historic centre of Ajaccio.
The reasons why we include this square among the things to see in Ajaccio and where to take a
break are three:
- an orderly, clean and shaded space thanks to the presence of numerous palm trees where there are bars, restaurants and shops of all kinds follow;
- in the square, you can see the Mairie d´Ajaccio, the Town Hall, with the Napoleonic Hall on
the first floor, with an essential collection of medals, portraits, family busts, the baptism certificate and Napoleon´s death mask, in bronze;
Third, the presence of the colourful and picturesque fish market, with the sale of typical products
of the region (From Tuesday to Sunday).
In the most crucial square of Ajaccio, facing the sea, is a monument that the city commissioned in
honour of its most illustrious citizen.
Inaugurated on May 5, 1850, the anniversary of Napoleon´s death, the impressive base decorated with four crouched lions forms the pedestal of a statue of Napoleon as First Consul. The figure was made in 1804 by Francesco Massimiliano Laborer and given to the city by Cardinal Fesch.
From 1801, Laborer proposed a statue of Napoleon Bonaparte in the role of First Consul, at the
request of François Cacault, Ambassador of France in Rome, but also collector and patron. The statue was completed in 1806, but as Napoleon did not show much interest in it, his uncle, Cardinal Fesch, decided to buy it. And so, the statue became part of the prelate´s collection and passed to his hometown with his death according to his testamentary disposition.
Jérôme Maglioli, the architect of the city of Ajaccio, a painter and decorator, was hired to elaborate the support of the monument and derived the plan to an ornate fountain with four lions.
The bas-reliefs of the base represent the Emperor crowned by Victory, Virtue (stopping the wheel
of fortune), Prudence (indicated by a snake), Victory and Peace exchanging laurel wreaths and olive trees.
Sit back and enjoy the shade and benches in the picturesque Foch square, under the gaze of
Address: Place Foch
Wellcome to Europamundo Vacations, your in the international site of:
Bienvenido a Europamundo Vacaciones, está usted en el sitio internacional de: