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Mediterranean & Adriatic

About Corsica

Corsica, France

Corsica is a mountainous island situated in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy. The storied history of this French possession blends with Corsica’s inimitable character and rustic landscape to create one of the region’s most unique destinations. The island has been under outside rule as far back as the Mesolithic period. Carthaginians, Greeks and Etruscans have also held the territory at some point.

The island became part of the Roman Republic in 260 B.C. and developed a somewhat unruly and undesirable reputation, becoming a site for societal demotion. In fact, the renowned philosopher Seneca was once exiled to Corsica. Following the downfall of Rome, Corsica was subjected to a number of invasions and takeovers. The Republic of Pisa dominated the island for a time during the 11th century. As Pisans established themselves in coastal settlements and amidst the island’s rugged hills, they constructed of a number of cathedrals that still stand today.

The end of the 13th century marked the beginning of a period of mainly Genoese influence. The Corsican Revolution for Independence began in 1729 and lasted 26 years. Corsicans were rewarded with a brief period of independence from 1755 until 1769, after which France assumed control of the island. Periodic political conflict ensued into the 20th century, but Corsica has since been considered a loyal province of contemporary France.

Corsica Lifestyle and Culture

Corsica has been governed by France since the 18th century. However, the island is closer in proximity to Italy and exudes unique traces of Italian culture. Even the native Corsican language (Corsu) has ties to the dialect spoken in medieval Tuscany (Toscano). Only 10% of the island’s population speaks French.

As one of the most underdeveloped regions along the Mediterranean, Corsica has managed to retain much of its unique, natural beauty. The island and its residents invite travelers to revel in a rustic and refreshing return to simpler times when the cycle of the harvest, the catch of the day and the uncorking of the wine led the way to happiness.

Corsica Sights and Landmarks

Corsica is known as “The Scented Isle” for the abundance of aromatic plants and herbs that thrive here. The island terrain is a natural source of wild herbs and flora, including myrtle rosemary, rockrose, curry, pines and more. Exploration of the island’s largely untouched and peaceful landscape tantalizes the senses.

The birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, Corsica offers an unforgettable glimpse of the emperor’s early life. Visitors can explore the baroque cathedral in which he was baptized. Casa Buonaparte, the museum devoted to the Bonaparte family, features personal ancestral possessions and historic artifacts, providing a unique perspective into one of Europe’s most influential rulers.

Along Corsica’s western coast, the rocky spires, caves and islets of the Calanches, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a magnificent sight. Here, rugged red-rock formations and grottoes overlook the sea with a drama unmatched in the region. They are truly one of the world’s natural wonders.

The mountainous terrain of Corsica also features a variety of amazing gorges, the most celebrated of which may be the Prunelli Gorges. These red granite cliffs dive into a pristine river, offering a breathtaking view of nature’s splendor.

View Cruises to Corsica