Top historic sites in Corsica

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

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 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

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 13t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Calvi, 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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.