Bastia, city of art and history

Bastia Baroque and cultural city. Bastia is a dynamic coastal resort, a gastronomic and oenological centre. Bastia, gateway to Corsica, offers you the keys to your stay on the island.

Bastia, ville d'art et d'histoire

Many things have been said, written and sung on Bastia.

You just have to leaf through a guide, a tourist brochure to contemplate the wealth of the city: baroque oratories, majestic churches, Old Port and Citadel proudly perched on its rocky promontory.

City of Art and History, enigmatic, indifferent to time, modern and creative Bastia reveals its many facets to visitors.

But beyond gilding, beyond stones, beyond palaces... what secrets does Bastia really hide?

To answer this intriguing question that even most Corsicans ask themselves, it is enough to stroll around its ancient centre; for it is in the life of its neighbourhoods, in the encounter with its inhabitants, that the soul of Bastia expresses itself best.

To discover the authentic Bastia, let yourself be tempted by a stroll through the narrow lanes of Terra-Vecchia, take time to taste the many regional products on the market or in the shops of Corsican specialities, discover local legends and traditions during unusual visits.

Discover the art of living in the Bastiaise, by practicing "a macagna" this form of humor so spicy that the Bastiais handle with finesse.

Bastia, a four-season town where you can meet with your family for a good meal or with friends to share a moment of conviviality during cultural events or sporting outings or trendy outings.

So yes, a lot of things have been said, written, sung on Bastia... now it's up to you to unravel the secrets! 

History of the city 

Bastia was founded in 1378 when the Genoese governor Leonello Lomellini left Biguglia Castle to settle in a stronghold in Bastia.

This site dominated a fisherman's navy that was then called Porto cardo (the current Old Port).
His successors kept this residence.
From the installation of Genoese citizens and the construction of ramparts protecting the new settlement, a district was born: Terra Nova (the present Citadel).
The old Porto Cardo then became Terra Vecchia.
The ramparts were completed in 1480 and it was not until fifty years (1530) that the palace of the Governors was completed, next to the old keep.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the upper town followed the tradition of Genoese towns: a checkered floor plan and straight streets.
Many religious brotherhoods are born and a very intense cultural life develops.
At the end of the 18th century, the city prospered and its population grew considerably. During the 19th century, the city extended to the north and the heights. The urban landscape was then in full transformation: construction of the courthouse, extension of the Place Saint Nicolas, construction of many bourgeois buildings bordering wide boulevards.
The heart of the city then has the look that can be admired today.

Some dates...


  • 1378: The Genoese governor Leonello Lomellini leaves Biguglia Castle and setstles in a fortress "a Bastia" that he had built on the promontory overlooking the Old Port then called Porto Cardo.
  • 1480: The ramparts are finished.
  • 1530: The Palace of Governors is completed.
  • 16/17th century: During the 16th and 17th centuries, many brotherhoods were created and a rich cultural and artistic life developed.
  • 1768: Corsica becomes French and the Genoese domination ends.
  • 1794: The English take possession of the city for two years.
  • 1796: Bastia becomes again the capital of the Golo department.
  • 19th century: During the 19th century, the city prospered and developed to the north and the heights.
  • 20th century: At the beginning of the 20th century, the new port was completed and the city continued its expansion towards Toga and Saint Joseph.

The Citadel

The initial fortress "Bastiglia" gave its name to the city.

Place du marché
Market Square

Every weekend this place regains its old-fashioned soul: producers, market gardeners and florists reappropriate the space and offer visitors a journey combining fragrances and regional flavours (coppa, lonzu, figatellu, doughnuts, cheeses, canistrelli, etc.).

Le Jardin Romieu
Romieu Garden

The Romieu garden, situated below the Palace of the Governors and the bastion of Saint Charles, drops along a row terraces down into the sea.

Vieux Port de Bastia
Old Harbour

The old harbour has kept all of its authenticity. It takes you on a journey, narrating its rich history to the vistors settled at the terraces of restaurants or cafés.

Chapelle de la Scala Santa
Scala Santa Chapel

Nested in the country side of Bastia and accessible by 20 minutes walk from the city centre, the oratory of Monserato shelters an extremely rare "Holy staircase".

Cathédrale Sainte Marie
Saint Marie Cathedral

Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, the cathedral was built from 1604 until 1619. It shelters an extraordinary processional statue of the silver Virgin dated from 1852.

La Place Saint Nicolas
Saint-Nicolas Square

The St Nicholas' square, with its 280 meters of length by 80 meters of width, comprises 22 400 square meters, almost equivalent to twice the size of St Mark's Square of Venice.

Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste (XVII / XVIII)
Saint John the Baptist Church

The church of Saint John the Baptist, the largest of Corsica, was built between 1636 and 1666. The bell towers on the facade were added later in the 19th century.

Le Palais des Gouverneurs
The Palace of Governors

The Governors' Palace was built from a tower, built in 1380 by a noble Genoese, Leonello Lomellino.


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Office de Tourisme BASTIA Place Saint Nicolas 20200 Bastia 04 95 54 20 40
Fax : 04 95 54 20 41
Mail :
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