Corsica (Ajaccio), France

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Main port photo for Corsica (Ajaccio), France

In 1811, Napoleon Bonaparte - then Napoleon I, Emperor of the French - made Corsica a department of France. He also moved the capital from Bastia to his hometown of Ajaccio.

The capital of Corsica, Ajaccio is the island's largest town (although we know that the capital of Corsica is Paris, and Ajaccio & Bastia are roughly the same size) - and the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. One can stroll past the cathedral where the future emperor was baptized--the Casa Bonaparte is a museum devoted to the imperial glory. But Corsica is also the "scented isle" - a place of dramatic shoreline cliffs, small coves, and golden beaches. The island interior consists of stony mountains carpeted in macchia, a low, thick, chaparral comprised of aromatic Corsican mint, rock roses, and myrtle. Everywhere you'll discover traces of the island's long and colorful history, from medieval walled towns to seaside villages guarded by 16th-century towers. Though the island has been part of France since the late 18th century, Corsica retains its own distinct culture and flavor.

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  • Hotel d' Ville/Napoleanic Museum Hotel d' Ville/Napoleanic Museum

    The Hôtel de Ville or town hall was built during the reign of Charles X between 1824 and 1830. In it is the Salon Napoléonien which houses various Napoleonic paintings and statues, and memorabilia of the imperial family, although most of the items are now displayed at the Fesch Gallery of Art - Napoleonic floor.

  • Prunelli Gorges Prunelli Gorges

    Red granite cliffs plunge into a river, and chestnut and pine trees dotting majestic mountains make up these stunning gorges that are found within the rugged landscape of Corsica.

  • Vizzavona Forest Vizzavona Forest

    One of Corsica's natural wonders, the Forêt de Vizzavona has some of the best landscapes in Corsica's mountains and is home to 800-year-old pine trees in just over 4000 acres of protected land.

  • Calanches Calanches

    Located on the coastal road toward Piana, this surreal landscape of dramatic, weather-carved, red granite rock formations plunging to the sparkling sea below is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Cathedral Cathedral

    Featuring elaborate chandeliers and a white marble altar donated by Empress Josephine, this 16th-century Roman Catholic Cathedral was the site of Napoleon's baptism in July of 1771.

  • Maison Bonaparte (Napoleon's House) Maison Bonaparte (Napoleon's House)

    The Musée National de la Maison Bonaparte, the house where Napoleon was born, features fascinating memorabilia of the Emperor and his siblings, whom he placed in various thrones around Europe.

  • Fesch Museum Fesch Museum

    One of Europe's most important museums for Italian period paintings, Fesch is named for the Cardinal (Napoleon's uncle), who donated over 1,000 works of art, including works by Botticelli and Tizianio (Titian)

  • Tortoises Tortoises

    Corsica has one of only three tortoise protection centers in the world. The facility is home to more than 130 species of tortoises and turtles (known locally as cupulattas) from all over the globe.

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