You have found a site about Corsica - the Mediterranean mountain island - and here's a site map.

                                                                     photo by Michel Battaillard

Welcome to Corsica Isula - please enjoy your visit.

Corsica from the inside!

Corsica is a wonderfully enigmatic country. Its attraction lies in nature, not in artifact. It's a rock-hard fragile paradise. Its poets and singers are nearest to revealing its secrets.

Corsica Isula offers you pointers to the island's past, present and future - and much factual information.

If it's time to renew your travel insurance, take a look at Corsicaholiday's travel insurance and holiday money page

Introduction: Clues to Corsica

Travel to Corsica & holidays in Corsica

If you're thinking of holidaying in Corsica, there is a mine of information on holidays, flights and ferries to Corsica which you can find by going to our travel pages. Whether you want an all-in luxury holiday, a return flight or the contact details of a hotel or villa owner, you'll find what you need here.

This month our featured holiday operator is Simply Corsica.  They are now offering reductions of up to £150 per couple if you book online.  Simply Corsica offers out-of-the-ordinary holiday experiences in no less than 42 different locations on the island and they range from the very affordable to the unashamedly luxurious.  Click the picture below to find out more.

Corsica

Do you want a map of Corsica? Then click here.

Where is Corsica?/ Maps / The Geography of Corsica / Guidebooks / Other Books on Corsica / Getting to Corsica / Travel from France / Travel from Great Britain / Travel from other European Countries / Travel within Corsica / Car hire in Corsica / Travel insurance / Tour Guides / A to Z of villages, towns & micro-regions in Corsica / Tourist Offices / Holiday Accommodation / Currency Converter

Car hire from Corsica -Isula

Corsica Isula has arranged a special offer for car hire in Corsica. The way it works is that the best deals in each car category from different car hire majors is made available to you. This saves you messing around trying to find the best deals. So, click here for Corsica Isula Car Hire or click on the pick-up location of your choice on the map below!

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Corsica

Where is Corsica? | Corsica's climate? | Getting to Corsica? | Geography of Corsica? | Landscape of Corsica? | The country is Corsica? | Corsican language? | Corsica's flag? | Size of Corsica? | Capital of Corsica? | Corsican cuisine? | Corsican culture? | Books & guides on Corsica in English? | British & American connections with Corsica? | Business in Corsica? | Tell me about about a typical Corsican village | How did Corsica get its name?

 

View from Calvi Citadel

Corsica's Mountains, Coast & Outdoor Pursuits

Introduction to Corsica's Mountains and Coast | Diving | Extreme Sports | Flora & Fauna | Mountain WalkingRock Climbing | GR20 | River Fishing | Sailing | Skiing | Horse Trekking | Beaches.

Alexandre Dumas said, "Corsica is a French département, but Corsica is far from being France".

Corsican Websites

There are many hundreds of links throughout Corsica Isula on every page, but here some that are grouped together to make access slightly easier for you:

Archaeology | Artists | Business | Celebrities | Crafts | Culture | Diving | Education | Extreme Sports | Festivals | Flora & Fauna | River Fishing | Food & Drink | Genealogy | Guides | Historical Personages | Language | Lists and Directories | Marine Activities | Media | Mountain Walking | MuseumsPhotographers | Places | Politics | Polyphony | Pop | Property | Public Institutions | Sailing | Sports | Visitor Attractions | WWII.

Corsican Traditional Music.

Introduction: polyphony, religious chant, secular song, lay brotherhoods, traditional instruments, concerts, learning polyphony | Traditional Music Websites | CDs by Corsican Polyphony Artistes | Other Corsican Recordings - you can buy from here.

"What a place!" cried Prosper Mérimée.

Corsica's Climate and Weather.

"It's one of those privileged places on the globe that has a character, a strong personality that neither time nor man has been able to breach" - Astérix in Corsica.

Public Life in Corsica.

Corsica Today | The Economy | Public Institutions | Politics | Media | Historical Personages | Education.

"The smallness of the Corsican state does not render it less an object of admiration," declared James Boswell.

Photographs of Corsica.

This listing is of many sites with super pictures of Corsica. As you will see, there are not too many pictures of Corsica on the site, because there are so many good ones out there; if you go to google and do an image search you'll come up with about 56 000 images. On the other hand, you can choose the place you want to see or the subjects that are of interest, for example 'corsica mountains' will give you 6 pages of links or 'corsica beaches' will give you four. If you follow the link above, you get to loads of other links to sites that aredescribed and are full of pictures of Corsica.

Corsican Tastes, Scents and Eco Products.

Introduction to Corsican Food & Drink | Corsican Wines & Spirits | Corsican Meat & Charcuterie | Corsican Cheeses | Corsican Fruit & Vegetables | Corsican Honey | Corsican Fish | Corsican Essential Oils & Aromatherapy | Corsican Diet, Phytotherapy & Natural Remedies | Corsican Organic Foods | Corsican Olive OilCorsican Groceries | Food & Drink Websites.

Sir Gilbert Elliott - Viceroy during the Anglo-Corsican Kingdom (1794-96), said

"The Corsican people were an enigma of which nobody could be sure to have the key."

The Mystique of Corsica.

This topic may look a bit esoteric, but it's well worth a visit because these images, notions and symbols that tell you a lot about Corsica, its appealing nature and culture.

Testa di Moru the Moor's head | Granìtula spiral | Ochju di Santa Lucia eye of St Lucie | Corne & Ochju horns and the 'Eye' | Muvra mouflon | Cursinu Corsican dog | Culombu conch shell | Beatìssima the Virgin Mary | Albucciu asphodel | Paliaghju shepherd's hut | Stantare carved menhirs | Filetta bracken | Paghjella a form of polyphony | Malmignàttu black widow spider | I Signatori exorcists | U Paese the village | Ponti Genovesi Genoese bridges | Chjam' è Risponde poetic jousts | Orii troglodytic houses.

The Corsican Language.

"One day this little island will astonish Europe," said JJ Rousseau in his Contrat Social in 1762.

Appropriate Enterprise in Corsica.

Appropriate Business Creation Ideas for Corsica | An Entrepreneur in Corsica | Business Startup in Corsica | Femu Quì - Corsica's Venture Capitalist | Corsican Business Websites.

British & American Connections with Corsica.

Corsica Isula Newsletters.

Take a look at previous issues.

Comments & Suggestions.

Join the Corsica Bullitinu newsletter mailing list

Email:

Join the Corsica Lista discussion group

If you haven't seen what you're looking for in the index above, here's a possible shortcut to finding what you want:

Google
The Web Corsica Isula

 Or try out the excellent new Corsican Search Engine, Corsica Direct, by Noël Giovannelli:
Tout sur la Corse - Recherchez sur Corsica Direct

Another new search engine you might want to try is Zepti.net - web search engine

( See a Corsican website at random | See the list of hundreds of sites | Add your site to the webring )

Other pages: FAQs about Corsica | Corsican Websites | Travel to Corsica | Corsica's Climate & Weather | Corsica's Mountains & Coast | Public Life in Corsica | Corsican Gastronomy | Corsican Traditional Music | Corsican Language | Mystique of Corsica | Business in CorsicaBritish & American Connections with CorsicaNewsletters | Contact

Introduction: Clues to Corsica

Napoleon Bonaparte neglected Corsica during his years of power, but he yearned for the smell of the maquis, when exiled to St Helena. This scent is indeed a special way of recognising you are on the island.

a machja, ochji un ha ma ochji teni - the maquis has no eyes but sees all

Isula stranu cuntinente,                                Island, strange continent,

Paese vecchio in vita nova,                          Old country with new life,

Isula schiava indipindente,                           Enslaved independent isle,

Isule centu ind'una sola.                               Island, hundreds of isles in one.

Ghjuvan Ghjaseppu Franchi

This poem has a way of encapsulating the island in four lines. Corsica's a complex contrapuntal country full of enigmas and anomalies, with plenty of paradox and defiance not only towards invaders, but also of description.

Corsica is a mountain in the Mediterranean - the liquid continent. The granite heights define its outline and also determine much of the character of the people. The island's history has involved most of the countries on the shores of the Mediterranean, but it remains quite unlike any of them. The mystique of the past is very present.

Corsica may conjure up bandits. But they were bandits of honour. Corsica may invoke the idea of vendetta. But in Corsica, it was not simple revenge. It was a way of keeping the unwritten law. In Corsica today, the mores of today remain different to those of France.

prima à i toi è à l'altri s'e tù poi - first to your own and to others if you can

 

In an oral tradition like Corsica's, the word is what counts, though you should not believe all the tales you hear. To 'call' in Corsican is chjamà and it also means to appeal or to attract. A powerful tradition is the chjam' è risponde - call and response - an improvised poetic chanted dialogue. The Corsican language is full of nuance, variety and music. Indeed, much of the island's story is told in song.

 

Corsica is astonishing, both physically and socially. Take a trip through the Scala di Santa Regina, the craggy Golo gorge leading up to the high plateau of the Niolo and then up over the Col de Vergio, one of the island's wildest high passes and then go down to through the pine forests of Aitone to the coral port at Porto and you'll understand. Stop on your way and meet Niolans, who will tell you of the many legends of the region and talk about how they have preserved their way of life through all the centuries of invasion and so-called modernisation, let alone the 23 June 1774 massacre by French forces, commemorated each year at the monastery of Calacuccia.

 

Jean-Claude Aquaviva, the leader of the Corsican singing group A Filetta, says of Corsican polyphony, "those who hear it for the first time are struck by the fact that each singer is responsible to the other." He continues, "C'est ça la solidarité." The French word is difficult to translate, especially in the Corsican context, but it means: solidarity, of course, but also interdependence, integration, mutuality, complementarity. In such a harsh environment people live and work closely together.

 

A Filetta, Corsican polyphony singers, being filmed by the BBC.

 

Corsica is rich beyond wealth, though not a place of high output or consumption. Human values are what people measure, rather than the value of things. While Corsica has seldom been a sovereign state, it is a country that has never been subjugated. Its story is difficult to tell.

 

It's interesting that unlike in most other countries of the world, Corsican shepherds have traditionally followed their sheep, rather than directing their tracks. This required complete freedom to move about, with the sense of the private ownership land being alien.

l'ómi si leanu cu a parólla, i bói cu a funa - you tether men with words, oxen with ropes

Corsica is easy to enjoy on a short holiday, but deep appreciation is more hazardous. Travel is counted in time, not in distance. It is said that the Greeks called the island Kalliste and for good reason. It is an island of beauty. That story gives Corsica its constancy.

 

Corsica's rugged coasts and jagged mountains can be daunting, while its taciturn people may appear unapproachable. Corsicans are intimate in community and personally reserved. Men and women have a striking mutualism. Each is supreme, but not dominant. The family and the clan are paramount, while strangers are welcome.

 

Much of the mid level mountains of Corsica are covered in maquis - harsh and resilient bushes like broom, gorse, juniper, laurel, lentisk and myrtle, with the strong and gentle smelling plants like asphodel, cistus, heather, lavender, thyme and sage. This scrub is mythically remembered as the hiding place of the wartime resistance.

 

High by the Monte d'Oro there are Lariccio pine forests and surging torrents. Chestnut forests cover the craggy mountains of the Castagniccia. Groves of olives have for centuries contributed the riches of the Balagne. One of the advantages of not having been an industrial country is that much of the past remains present. For example, there are the remains of 200 medieval castles in Haute Corse alone.

I vicini so cucini - neighbours are cousins

Much of Corsica's heritage is preserved because nothing much has changed over the centuries. Many things pop out at you without warning. It's a place where there vast numbers of archaeological sites and the majority have yet to be explored.

 

Corsica's intense and unadorned culture is not widely commercialised and could seem impenetrable. Stark polychrome churches look simple, but are as deceptive as their floors that slope up to the altar. Corsican polyphony - a cappella singing - is enchanting. If you try to isolate the four parts, you will find that there are only three. But that is only part of the story.

 

Corsicans have a resistant pride in knowing who they are and have a generosity born of adversity. They have learned to protect themselves from invasion and survive on what they have. Life is tough and yet their gentleness is pervasive. Both these form part of Corsica's love affair with itself.

 

When two Corsicans meet for the first time, the first question they ask is "Di chi paese site?" - which village are you from? They derive a large part of their identity from their place of origin, even if they have been born overseas.

 

A e nozze e a i doli si cunosce i suoi - 'at weddings and funerals, you acknowledge your own', goes a Corsican saying. The sense of community long dissipated in many parts of industrialised Europe remains strong in Corsica. There are many who suggest that the lively celebration of death can be traced back to Neolithic times and recognises the eternal cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth.

 
ùn ci voli micca meta si mezzu à l'ugni e à carri -
don't get between  fingernail and  flesh (mind your own business)

 

Corsica's limits are clearly defined by the sea, while its depths are perpetually profound. Most Corsicans are fearful of water and deeply attached to the land. Though many Corsicans have been adventurers, their roots are deep in their native soil.

 

It is difficult to talk of 'Corsicans', since as soon as you try to isolate their character, they evade your grasp. I'd say they are both communal and individualistic. If one puts his head too far above the parapet, he'll get shot at, but he will defend his right to assert himself with singular attention.

 

Corsica can be seen as a place of paradox or an island of integrity. Whichever you prefer, Corsica has a strength that will not leave you unmoved. There is a French expression that describes Corsica as the nearest of the faraway islands.

Comments & Suggestions.

write to:  mac @ corsica-isula.com

Another perspective on Corsica can be found at Derekthered's Corsica Blog

Join the Corsica Bullitinu newsletter mailing list

Email:

Join the Corsica Lista discussion group

Other pages: FAQs about Corsica | Corsican Websites | Travel to Corsica | Corsica's Climate & Weather | Corsica's Mountains & Coast | Public Life in Corsica | Corsican Gastronomy | Corsican Traditional Music | Corsican Language | Mystique of Corsica | Business in CorsicaBritish & American Connections with CorsicaNewsletters | Contact

Looking for some Corsica travel options? Go to our Travel Page or visit Corsica Holiday for flights, accommodation or all-in-holidays to Corsica

write to:  mac @ corsica-isula.com

 Managed in association with Corsica Holiday