In the families, everyone is already talking about it: Bastia is celebrating! Unfurling its curtains of light and suspended decorations, the city, sublime, magnetic, is spreading its decorations and magical scenes at every crossroads and in every window.
In the churches too, the people of Bastia are busy, with children in the lead, preparing to play the main characters of a founding night that they will bring to life to the tune of sacred songs sung by the brotherhoods.
Don’t miss pushing open the big sacred doors! At the end of the afternoon and in the evening, the services multiply on December 24th, sometimes accompanied by living cots and always held with emotion in a sumptuous setting: that of the religious buildings of Bastia and its surrounding villages, all animated by the spirit of Christmas.
While in the houses of Bastia, other rituals are being passed on. The signadori are the only ones who can ward off the ochju (evil eye), and at midnight they will deliver their secrets, in gestures and prayers, to others who will follow them, thus strengthening the cohort of the forces of good against evil…
A Christmas in Bastia is also about choice dishes and products that are not found in summer, reserving their old-fashioned recipes and their characteristic flavour for winter visitors.
The scent of roasted chestnuts thus reaches the streets and alleys, giving an extra soul to the local meals and snacks, at a time when it is good to be near a good fire.
Don’t miss the Corsican mountain cold meats, lonzu, coppa, and other refined prizutti, served, as the season dictates, on the good tables of Bastia or sold in detail in all the fine grocery shops of the city.
And here comes the unavoidable figatellu, unavailable from April to November, ready to accompany the famous pulenda made with Corsican chestnut flour, so tasty and precious!
Another king of Christmas and end of year meals in Bastia, the caprettu (goat) can also be tasted in the homes and at the best gourmet addresses in different versions. Unless one of the chef’s suggestions is tripette, an equally traditional dish, or freshly delivered sea urchins, to be accompanied by a wine of controlled origin, from one of the renowned domains nearby.
All this is to be savoured before a small clementine or myrtle liqueur and after an aperitif bearing the signature of a large neighbouring brasserie or a famous drink with cinchona and mistelles, from the Cap Corse…
From ultra chic boutiques to small designer workshops, the shopping streets of the town centre are full of gift ideas, as delicate as they are original.
Jewellers, leatherworkers, designers and other Bastia-based stylists are working on reinventing local materials and know-how to create the most fabulous gift baskets, full of unique pieces!
These craftsmen, who have just left their showrooms, will also have a shop, like the island’s producers, on the Christmas markets of the Bastia region. Rendezvous on December 3rd and 4th in Pietranera, as well as on December 10th and 11th in Ville di Pietrabugno, to find them and also enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn carriage with Father Christmas, a gourmet snack, or the delights of a local food-truck!
The town of Bastia, for its part, will keep its Christmas chalets open from 14 to 23 December. Ten days to be lived in a warm and cheerful atmosphere, with all the representatives of the sectors of excellence in Corsica and the finest regional crafts.
Don’t miss the acoustic aperitifs and musical evenings, to be savoured at the same time as the migliaccioli and other typical snacks.
Not forgetting the Ferris Wheel, which will open before this great Christmas market, on the very first weekend of December on the sumptuous Place Saint Nicolas.
In the magic of December, the entire Bastia region, its exceptional sites and panoramas, are revealed in a new light: intimate and even more authentic.
Before or after shopping, Bastia outside the walls is to be discovered on foot, in its winter colours and its other atmospheres…
If the Corsican weather is good, think of taking advantage of these routes and small family excursions along the old-fashioned paths planted with trees and bordered by scrubland. You will come across mansions, chapels, fountains, wash houses and mills, as well as breathtaking views of the sea!
A stone’s throw from Bastia, the perched villages (Furiani, Cardo, Ville di Pietrabugno, San Martino and Santa Maria di Lota) also have their own perspectives and horizons, between vegetation, characterful houses, restored ice houses and small buildings. While the nature reserve of the Chiurlinu pond awaits you, unchanged, in all its hieratic beauty, the pink flamingos, among other species, do not fail, in autumn-winter, to settle there to compose the most beautiful of pictures.
Another of those enchanting Christmas gifts which only Bastia has the art and the secret of making you travel to its heart.