Corsica – General information

Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean and a region of France. The island is located west of Italy, at the height of Abruzzo, north of the Italian island of Sardinia and southeast of France.

Their Corsican name is Corsica, their French corse.

The island is very mountainous. About 86% of the island is mountainous and only 14% coastal lowland. In Corsica, 50 two-thousand-meter peaks tower into the sky. The highest mountain is the Monte Cinto at 2706 m, which is only 25 km from the sea.
Size and management
The Mediterranean island of Corsica, with a size of 8680 m2, is the third largest island in the western Mediterranean. The island is divided into two administrative districts (Départements), in Haute-Corse (capital Bastia, 40,000 inhabitants) and Corse du Sud (capital Ajaccio, 53,000 inhabitants). Ajaccio is also the capital of Corsica.
Location and extent
The island is located in the Mediterranean between the 41th and 43rd degrees north latitude and the 8th and 10th degrees east longitude. It measures 183 km from north to south and 83 km from east to west. The varied coastline is 1047 km long. The distance to Nice (France) is 180 km, to Livorno (Italy) 85 km and to the neighboring island of Sardinia 12 km.
There are about 260,000 inhabitants on the island, which corresponds to a population density of about 30 inhabitants / km2. The working-age population is about 48%, of which about 12% are unemployed. 70% of jobs are in the service sector, about half of them in tourism.
Corsican; Official and common language French.
Since Corsica belongs to France, the valid currency is the Euro.
Maison de la France Germany
(French Tourist Office)
Westendstraße 47
D – 60325 Frankfurt a.M.

Corsica – Climate

In the western Mediterranean the summers are warm and rain-poor; the winter mild and very rainy.

In the middle of summer, temperatures at midday of more than 30 ° C are the rule on the coast, the water temperature then rises to 25 ° C; the average temperature in August is 24 ° C.

In winter, the water temperatures of the salt-rich Mediterranean hardly drop below 10 ° C; the average temperature in January is 9 ° C.

Corsica is divided into 3 climates.

The Mediterranean climate ends at 500m altitude.

Above is a mediterranean transition zone up to 1000m in height, which reaches in the summer to over 1500m height. Above this zone the alpine climatic zone begins.

Corsica – Fauna

On the island of Corsica wild boars live, which live together with the half-wild domestic pigs in the macchia and forest areas.

Then there are fox, hare and wild rabbits at home.

The Corsican symbol animal, the mouflon, has become rare in Corsica. The climbing artist’s population is 500 to 800 animals, which are only in the high mountains.

The bird species include blackbird, thrush, finch, woodpecker, nightingale, kingfisher and crows.

There are also birds of prey such as buzzards, sparrowhawks, kites, elefantines, stone and osprey.

Insects (grasshoppers, cicadas, bees), mountain newts, lizards, fire salamanders, geckos and tortoises are common.

In the waters you will find eels, trout, mullets, sea bass and oysters. In the sea you can even find dolphins and fin whales.

Corsica – Flora

The forest areas of Corsica are given as 150,000 – 250,000 ha, which is about one third of the total area.

Since one can not exactly specify the difference between forest and maquis, this number varies. The main tree species are black and beach pine, beech, stone and cork oak.

In the south, there are mainly extensive cork oak forests that bribe with their reddish-brown colors when they are freshly peeled. In the east one often encounters the eucalyptus.

In the plains and terraced crops one often finds the oil or olive tree, which is usually equipped with nets for the harvest.

The coastal vegetation is characterized by plane trees, pines, agaves, opuntias and palms. Of course, the sweet chestnut should not be missed and is located mainly in the transition stage of about 1000 m, especially in the region of Castagniccia with about 15,000 ha.

The maquis is a form of vegetation, which is characterized by thorny, prickly and Hartlaubige plants, trees, bushes and grasses. Typical plants are cistus, stone linden, strawberry, myrtle, broom, thorn, thyme, lavender and others. These can grow up to 10 m high and also penetrate forests. Many of the plants protect themselves from dehydration by separating oils, rubbery or resinous substances that also smell very strong.

Corsica – History

For a few epochs in the eventful history of Corsica, its inhabitants brought peaceful times. Since protohistoric times, these had learned to protect themselves from encroachment by being retreated to the mountains – be it by foreign troops, by pirates, or by the Corsican nobility, who exploited the people the worst.

Already 3500 years ago, the natives of Corsica were forced to fortify their settlements. When the Romans arrived on the island, the retreat from the coastal regions did little to help them, the Romans pushed forward into the mountains, defeating every resistance and eradicating half of the Corsicans.

The migration of peoples brought Corsica the most troubled time of its eventful history. In these tumultuous centuries when Vandal, East Gothic, Byzantine and Lombard rulers alternated, the Corsicans once again had to retreat into the interior of the island and develop their communities in the remoteness of the mountains.

Even the transition to papal rule brought no peace to Corsica – on the contrary, the Moors continued their forays and settled at individual points on the island.

The division of Corsica between Genoa and Pisa, which had existed since 1133, contained the seeds of strife. She transferred the clashes between the two Italian cities to the island and split the Corsican into Pisa or Genoa followers.

This was followed by clashes between the camps of the Pisans, Genoese, Corsicans and Papists. The victims were once again the Corsicans themselves. In addition, the increase in the power positions of their own nobility, which tried to collect ever larger numbers of supporters around. Woe to him who was not docile to these clans!

To the horror of the nobility feuds came a Pestepedemie, which swept away large parts of the population.

Comparatively little is known about the culture and way of life of the indigenous people of the island. The oldest buildings in Corsica date back to the fourth millennium BC.

The dolmen and menhirs are witnesses of a death cult, the megalithic culture.

Around 1600 BC, people created menhir statues, huge and primitive human figures made of stone with a height of up to 4 meters.

The simple figures have human facial features and implied garments. Some statues carry weapons.

Around 560 BC, the Greeks founded the city of Alalia on the east coast, the later Aleria. It was not until the Romans broke the Greek commercial rule in 259 BC.

In 1133, the Pope divided the jurisdiction over the six Corsican bishoprics in the same ratio on the two city republics of Pisa and Genoa.

Genoa, however, Pisa’s influence over Corsica and conquered 1187 Bonifacio and 1278 Calvi.

In 1284, the Pisans were defeated in the decisive battle at Meleria.

Until 1729 the Genoese remain the sole rulers of Corsica.
In 1729, the uprising against Genoa breaks out.

In 1736 the Corsicans gave themselves a constitution and called the German adventurer Theodor von Neuhoff king of Corsica. He has to leave the island in the same year.

In 1755, Pascal Paoli was proclaimed general of the Corsican nation. > He makes Corsica an independent state with Corte as its capital.

In 1769, Genoa sold its rights to Corsica to France.

In 1769 the Corsican army was defeated – Corsica became a French province.

On 15 August 1769 Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio.

A commission report commissioned by the Paris National Assembly in Corsica recorded a total of 8,760 attacks between 1973 and 1998. That means, on average, an act of violence is perpetrated every day. The targets of violence are mostly institutions and representatives of the French central government. It also destroyed holiday resorts of foreign investors.

The recent history of political quarrels begins in the late 1950s. At that time, the French state tried to eliminate the economic backlog of the island by central economic planning and promoted the agricultural and touristic expansion of the island.

Many Corsicans felt disadvantaged by the nature of their investments. The money disappeared partly in dubious channels. With the repatriation of the French, who returned from Algeria, began the resistance against the Paris government. Even the Algerian returnees, who went to Corsica, received generous financial support to set up farms, while the Corsican peasants ran out of lessons.

At the same time, not only in Corsica, a sense of regionalism developed that deemed the central political control of Paris inappropriate. The authors of most of the attacks were the two rival separatist organizations FLNC-Union of the Combattants and the split-off FLNC of the dissident. As the French prefect Claude Erignac was murdered in February 1998, provoked popular opposition to the ruling power. Tens of thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against the terror of the Corsican separatists. So far, no tourists were injured by the terrorist attacks. However, mainly investors from the mainland still remain on the island, because often shell buildings of hotels and holiday resorts were blown up. Against this background, Corsica is comparatively little developed.

Corsica – eating & drinking

In Corsica, there are good sausages (saucisse and saucisson) and ham, which are usually served as appetizers (hors d’oevres), but also make a great Brotbelag.

Specialties are Coppa and Lonzu, both ham. Lonzu is made in the natural gut from spicy pork tenderloin, and Coppa is a rollbratenähnliches stuff from durchwachsenem pig comb.

Then there is the Prizuttu, a raw ham, soft and tender, excellent for the “casse-croûte”, sandwiches.

Figatelli are called the dark pork liver sausages, which are fried or simply eaten to bread.

Salsiccia is also a – usually well spiced – sausage style.

If you are a bit sadistic, you may like to try Pâté de Merle. It is a blackcurrant pate flavored with myrtle. The production is now prohibited, but the remainders may still be sold, and certainly the stuff is still produced.

Fish and shellfish are quite expensive in Corsica. Because of declining catches fish is increasingly imported. Crawfish (Corsican arigosta) are often eaten by tourists; The best way to get really Corsican lobster on Cap Corse or Bonifacio. Oursins (sea urchins) are eaten raw (!) Or baked in omelette. Oysters and mussels come from the Etangs.

At markets or in poison shops (fish shops) you will find daurade (gilthead bream), a tasty food fish with thick, easy-to-remove bones, and rouget (red mullet), which usually comes grilled on the table. A delicacy is the rather expensive loup (sea bass). The St. Pierre fish is cooked, and brine (sole) is also available.

Also known are two types of fish soups: the soupe de poisson (very tasty) with grated and roasted bread, and the not to be confused aziminu (bouillabaisse).

If you like it, you will also get friture du golfe, finger-length fish baked in oil. In the interior you can eat brown trout.

Meat is Gigot d’Agneau: leg of lamb or lamb chop or roast lamb. Kids, tastes very good. Sanglier or wild boar stands in the autumn, after the beginning of the hunting season on the menus, as roast or ragout, even as “Terrine de Sanglier” (boar soup). Marcassin is a boar. Rabbits are common in Germany. Rarely do tripe, not everyone’s taste, but are considered a delicacy.

Cheeses are available in Corsica in a wide selection. Here you will find various sheep (Brebis) and goat cheese (Chèvre). They are usually quite spicy and hearty.

A specialty is the brocciu, a quark-like cream cheese, spicy and creamy. Not to be confused with the similarly packed Brousse, which is made from dried milk. The correct Brocciu is only from October to June.
Fruit is abundant in Corsica and at low prices. Bread is almost only available as white bread in the usual forms of the French, that is as double loaf, as baguette, as flûtes (thicker than baguette, also called restaurant) and as breading (a kind of flûtes with pointed ends). Whole wheat bread is available in the supermarkets.

Honey (miel) is a popular souvenir; There are many types of corsica in Corsica that differ significantly in taste. The dark chestnut honey tastes very strong, almost bitter, honey from the Cargèse is spicy, the Balagne mild.

Gâteaux Corse is a cookie-like pastry that every baker makes according to his own recipe.

In Corsica, as in France, wine is part of every meal. The offer of Corsican wines is rich, also French and Italian wines are available.

A very popular wine is the Muscat, a white wine with almost liqueur taste and 15% alcohol.

Otherwise, you get everything to buy what else is in Europe. The cheapest drink in restaurants in remote areas is not rare (in addition to water) one of the national drinks of the French: Pastis, an approximately 45-percent anise brandy, which you can drink diluted with water on ice. Almost everywhere you get Kronenbourg beer, which does not taste very good.

Corsica – accommodations

Corsica has not been overrun by the big avalanches of package tourism. Comparatively low is the range of hotels and resorts. The prices are relatively high.

In the noble hotel Cala Rossa near Porto Vecchio, for example, in the high season the double room costs between 5,000 and 7,000 euros including obligatory half-board.

For apartments by the sea you have to expect at least 1,000 euros per week. Even a campsite costs a family of four in high season generally between 40 and 60 euros a day.

If you want to go on holiday in the high season on the island, you should take care of an early accommodation. No matter if hotel, apartment or camping.

The prices in Corsica’s tourist areas are comparable to those of the Cote d’Azur. You can not make cheap holidays on the island. This is true for the journey. Cheap airlines have not yet discovered Corsica.
Ferry and flight
The ferry and air connections to the island are too dependent on travel dates and individual data (home airport, ferry, car type), as that here could provide meaningful information.

A few tour operators offer flight and accommodation in the package. Most flights are connected with a change of plane in Paris (change of airport), Lyon or Nice. Ferry and flight information is provided by every qualified travel agency or you can find what you are looking for on the Internet.

Questions about the destination Corsica?