Through chestnut and fig trees, oak forests and scrubland, the time has come to reveal to you some of the hidden treasures scattered along the valleys, paths, hamlets and seaside villages. Why don’t you follow me on a life-size treasure hunt? Let’s go together to discover these places of life full of memory.
First stage of our itinerary, a few kilometres south of Bastia, the village of Furiani proudly overlooks the lagoon and the Chiurlinu pond.
Here we are now, in the heart of the village, a stone’s throw from the square of the Church of Saint Jean-Baptiste, at the foot of the rocky promontory on which stands the square Paoline Tower adorned with a superb bell tower. Those who love hiking will certainly be tempted by a walk to the Santa Maria Chapel, which can be reached in just 45 minutes and offers a superb panorama of the islands of the Tuscan archipelago.
After this escapade in the heart of nature, we reach the coastline with its sandy beaches, an ideal playground for water sports activities. Far from the hustle and bustle of the beaches, the Chiurlinu pond is home to a vast nature reserve and its eco-museum. It is in this preserved environment that hundreds of pink flamingos take up residence each year, seeking the mildness of the Mediterranean climate.
Football fans will appreciate stopping off at the Stade Armand Cesari, a major football venue in the island and the scene of Sporting Club Bastiais matches, which fans should not miss under any circumstances.
Let’s continue our visit in the direction of Cap Corse, to discover villages and hamlets scattered through the maquis and marinas anchored on the coast.
So let’s head for the heights of Bastia, to Ville de Pietrabugno. I suggest a break on the square in front of the parish church of Sainte Lucie, to take advantage of a beautiful viewpoint, before continuing towards the hamlets of Alzeto and Guaïtella, where washhouses, bread ovens, presses and chapels are revealed to the most curious visitors.
I advise the adventurer in you to try to climb one of the ice houses in our area. By the way, do you know what an ice house is? Yes… no? Do you know what a cooler is? Ice houses are amazing 17th century Genoese constructions that were once used to store snow, which once transformed into ice was then transported to the city during the summer. Today, they are still very popular with hikers looking for peace and quiet and beautiful views.
Let’s continue on the cornice road, which at every turn offers superb landscapes from the green valley of Lota to the vast Cap Corse Natural Marine Park, stretching from Bastia to the Agriates Desert.
In a few minutes, we reach the small square of Acqualta, one of the eleven hamlets of San Martino di Lota. Here, a stop is necessary to visit the church of Saint Martin, which gave its name to the village. Adjacent to the building, the oratory of the Confraternity of Santa Croce, conceals small treasures, unique pieces made from palms woven by the inhabitants of the village and unveiled on the occasion of the Holy Week.
Let me share a secret with you: many paths wind through the territory, offering as many possibilities for walks and hikes through scrubland and chestnut trees, discovering old houses, Genoese bridges, fountains and flour mills. Will you be able to find them?
There is no doubt, however, that you will see the small pebble beaches of Grisgione and Pietranera, much appreciated by local families, as you scan the coastline.
Before ending our escapade, follow me to the hamlet of Figarella. Here you will discover majestic American houses, symbols of the success of Corsicans who left to make their fortune in the Americas, as well as an imposing 19th century castle. From the Saint Antoine church square, let yourself be captivated by this remarkable panoramic view combining hamlets nestled in the heart of shimmering vegetation and azure blue expanses as far as the eye can see.
For those of you who have not yet succumbed to the charms of an athletic walk, the hamlet of Mandriale is the starting point for a hike towards the chapel of Saint Jean (approximately one hour’s ascent, see hiking page) dominated by Monte Capra and Monte Prunu.
We now head for Miomo, undoubtedly the hamlet of Santa Maria di Lota, which is the most frequented in the summer months. This small seaside resort, which is watched over by a recently renovated 16th century Genoese tower, offers an ideal setting for beach lovers and those who like to relax with their feet in the water.