Top historic sites in Corsica

Calvi Citadel

The Genoese Citadel is the main part of the town of Calvi, and its most important historical monument. It was a military outpost in the 15th century that helped guard the city against attacks from Franco-Turkish raiders to Anglo-Corsican armies. Inside the battlements, don’t miss the well-proportioned Caserne Sampiero, a military barracks that once served as the Genoese administration's seat of power, and the 13th-cen ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Calvi, France

Maison Bonaparte

La Maison Bonaparte is the ancestral home of the Bonaparte family. It is located on the Rue Saint-Charles in Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica. The house was almost continuously owned by members of the family from 1682 to 1923. Napoleon Bonaparte"s great-great-grandfather Giuseppe Bonaparte first moved into the Casa Buonaparte in 1682. Originally, the house was partitioned between differ however, after ...
Founded: 1682 | Location: Ajaccio, France

Ajaccio Cathedral

The present Ajaccio cathedral was built between 1577 and 1593 and is attributed to Italian architect Giacomo della Porta. It was built to replace the former Cathedral of Saint-Croix, destroyed in 1553 in order to make room for developments in the city"s defenses, as stated in the permit required by the Council of Ancients in 1559 to the Senate of Genoa and Pope Gregory XIII in order to build a new cathedral. ...
Founded: 1577-1593 | Location: Ajaccio, France

Ajaccio Citadel

Ajaccio, which is set at the top of a gulf, has been inhabited since Ancient times. From the 12th century onwards, the Genoese, wishing to establish a base of operations to support Calvi and Bonifacio in defending them against the threat from the Barbary Coast, built a fortification on the site, named Castel Lombardo. Unfit for habitation, the position was abandoned three centuries later in 1492-1493 in favour of Capo di ...
Founded: 1492 | Location: Ajaccio, France

Bastia Citadel

The Governor"s Citadel and Palace in Bastia dates back to the 14th century. The former palace of the Genoese governors houses the municipal museum, formerly the Ethnology Museum of Corsica.Abutting the old fortress tower and decorated with a 14th-century campanile, the Palace of Governors over the centuries guarded Terra Nova and beyond the ramparts of the Old Port. The city has undertaken a program of renovation o ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bastia, France

Corte Citadel

A small town in the heart of Corsica, Corte was the capital of the island (from 1755-1769 under Pasquale Paoli). Jutting out above the Tavignano and Restonica Rivers, and the cobbled alleyways of the Haute Ville, the citadel’s oldest part is the château – known as the Nid d’Aigle (Eagle’s Nest) – built in 1419. The 19th-century barracks now houses the tourist office and the Museu di a Corsica, a must-see f ...
Founded: 1419 | Location: Corte, France

Filitosa

Filitosa is a megalithic site in southern Corsica, France. The period of occupation spans from the end of the Neolithic era and the beginning of the Bronze Age, until around the Roman times in Corsica. The site was discovered in 1946 by the owner of the land, Charles-Antoine Cesari. Finds of arrow heads and pottery date earliest inhabitation to 3300 BC. Around 1500 BC, 2-3 metre menhirs were erected. They hav ...
Founded: 3300 BCE | Location: Sollacaro, France

Algajola Citadel

Algajola is an ancient Genoese fortress dating back to the 16th century. The Ottomans, who sacked Algajola in 1643, obliged the Genoese to destroy the fortress. Genoa built a new castle in 1664. Today, the Algajola Castle is one of the main tourist attractions of this town.
Founded: 1664 | Location: Algajola, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.