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.
More about Corsica (Ajaccio), France Points of Interest
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
Drive along the Route des Sanguinaires as you enjoy a narrated tour and take in the breathtaking beauty of pristine white sands as you head towards Punta Della Parata beach. Then, return to Ajaccio for a guided walking tour of historic sites.
Tour a tortoise protection center - one of only three in the world - during this guided excursion. Learn about the 180 species that live there. Then indulge in a beach break at one of Corsica's gorgeous beaches to swim, sunbathe or simply enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Corsica's rugged beauty beckons you during this half-day exploration via air-conditioned motorcoach. Travel through the lush Zipitolli Forest to the deep red granite cliffs of Prunelli Gorges. Take in awe-inspiring vistas at Tolla Lake. Visit a local café to enjoy a hearty Corsican snack of cheeses, cured meats and wine.
Corsica's rugged beauty reveals itself during this journey via motorcoach to the forest of Vizzavona. Travel past charming villages. Marvel at fragrant chaparral, towering chestnut and pine forests and stunning mountain views. Indulge in a traditional snack of meats, cheeses, and wine.
Tour an essential oil factory, a vineyard, and a nougat factory during this four-hour guided excursion via air-conditioned motorcoach. Learn how flowers and herbs are pressed to create scents for perfumes. Observe the process of winemaking firsthand. Discover how nougat, a tasty confection, is manufactured. Shop and enjoy samples at each venue.
Discover why Corsica has been dubbed "the island of beauty" during this full-day, guided tour via motorcoach. Take in breathtaking coastal vistas. Visit the ancient Greek village of Cargèse. Marvel at the majesty of 1000 foot granite rock formations. Explore the charming village of Piana.