Come with me to a sparkling Mediterranean island of blinding natural beauty and steeped in colorful history.
Idyllic rustication on a beach
Corsica is my favorite Mediterranean island for so many reasons it makes me wish I was a poet. This monument of granite rising from crystalline waters to heights of snowy splendour holds so many charms I needed six weeks to savour them all. But it was the rugged northern region which stole my slow living heart. Considered the heartland of Corsica by the native sons and daughters of this fiercely independent island the area around Calvi, Ile Rousse and Bastia offers spectacular scenery, a vibrant narrative, a proudly traditional agricultural scene and heritage wineries. I think that Corsica is France's best kept secret, which make it the ideal Travellur destination. Strict environmental laws and development limitations, inhibit over development resulting in higher prices and fewer accommodation options, but
Tucked away in the maquis covered hills above Calvi, our villa perched on an outcrop with a commanding view of the valley and sea below. So ideal for spotting approaching enemies that a legendary Corsican bandit built his hideout on the rocky crags above us. There are also a number of small boutique hotels catering
The bakery in the ancient stone village was only open in the mornings. If you wanted bread or sandwiches in the afternoon you had to go to Chez Margot, the tiny grocery store, the only other food seller in town. An enormous 15th century church dominates the village and chimes the hour and half hour, reminding us more of the eternal rest than the time of day. After the siesta hour, the older gentleman gather in the shade of the chestnut trees in the little square and play petanque, that mysterious French game with heavy metal balls.
DO, SEE, TASTE, FIND
Our stay in Feliceto (an apt name for our tiny village of joy) was of profound tranquility. Doves cooed in the morning light as it crept over the jagged peaks above us. At night we slept windows wide open to let the night air cool the stones of the repurposed barn we called home for the week. The days were bright and beautiful and full of simple pleasures like eating local foods, drinking water and wine from nearby sources, and making friends with the stoically warm Corsican locals.
Although villa Renucci was high enough to enjoy a distinctly different climate, flora and fauna of the tourist swamped coastal towns, a dramatic sea to mountain incline assures that you are never more than thirty minutes from a swim in the ocean.
We hiked up to the abandoned stronghold of the famous bandit through tangles of maquis, the name for the community of plants which cover the arid scrubland. We visited a wonderful monastery and bonded with the owners who treated us to a tour of the restoration the 17th century edifice. We rented a boat and scuttled between placid rocky coves, diving into the aquamarine waters of the Scandola nature reserve. We discovered the culinary heritage of Corisca through our new friend Charles at the Vecchio Moulino tavern and inn. He hunts wild boars and his wife cooks it into rich and tender ragout and serves it over handmade pasta. Her brother produces the fruity white wine of the region. These guys are the real deal. That’s who you meet when you eschew the obvious choice and take the road less travelled.