Ajaccio Citadel

Ajaccio, France

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 Bollo at Leccia Point. Cristoforo de Gandino, Francesco Sforza's military architect, was appointed by the Company of St. George to carry out the work for this site and at Calvi. Genoese and Ligurian families including the Bonapartes then set up a populating colony.

At that time, the town was structured around a fan formation of three roads: the Strada del Domo, the Strada San Carlo and the Strada Dritta, to plans drawn by the architect Pietro da Mortara. The citadel, which was built at the same time, was initially made up of a keep or citadel and a low curtain wall. In 1502-1503, the defensive features were enhanced with a ditch dug in rock around the citadel, accessible via a drawbridge, and strong walls around the settlement.

The town, which fell under French control between 1553 and 1559 was modified and extended, taking on its current hexagonal shape, the corners of which were reinforced with bastions. The Cateau-Cambrésis treaty returned the town to the Republic of Genoa, which commissioned the engineer Jacopo Frattini to fortify the seafront. He had a bastion built there, separated from the town by a ditch. During the 18th century, Corsica struggled in vain to escape foreign domination; in 1729, 1739 and 1763 the islanders attempted to take control of Ajaccio but it was placed directly under French control when the Genoese sold the island to France in 1768.

Napoleon Bonaparte was born in this town, and biographers tell that the ramparts and the citadel fuelled his games and dreams before featuring in his military and political career.

Used as a prison during the Second World War, Ajaccio Citadel was to be the last destination of the heroic Resistance fighter Fred Scamaroni. Scamaroni, who created the Gaullist Corsican Action R2 network in 1941, was mandated by General de Gaulle in January 1943 to try to bring unity to the Resistance movement. Betrayed by his radio operator, he was arrested by the OVRA (Italian counter-espionage) during the night of 18-19 March 1943. He chose to cut his throat with a piece of wire, leaving a last message written in his own blood: 'Long live France and long live de Gaulle'.



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Founded: 1492
Category: Castles and fortifications in France


4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alessandro Z (2 years ago)
Excellent hotel placed in the city center of Ajaccio. Rooms are brand new, as it has just been completely renovated.
dana verdene (2 years ago)
— we booked a room with a view (as it was stated on booking website) but got the view of the wall of the next building (see photo). On this staff said that the view can be different — our toilet door was broken, initially staff member said they will take a look. since nothing has been done we went to ask about the door again and they said they have this problem on the whole floor and can’t fix it now — by day the room smelled for canalization, on this staff gave us the perfume (which didn’t change anything) — no one mentioned that the breakfast was 21€ per person, we randomly asked about this later and were surprised since there is no coffee machine (only filtered coffee), no vegetables on the breakfast, but nice view though — on the check out they gave us the bill with wrong numbers — they added extra breakfast for two in the last day even though we didn’t have one. after our comments they corrected it — in the first day we put the sign “do not disturb” on the door and went for a full day boat trip. when we came back the room has been cleaned by the staff Besides that there are pluses too — great location - 5 min from the port, 7 min from the city beach — amazing view from the bar — they have 4 parking spots for guests which is rare thing for Ajaccio
JB Theard (5 years ago)
Great location, rooms have been recently refurbished; they are clean, modern, and with all amenities requested for this standard. But be aware of what Ajaccio is: a busy city where it’s hard to park all year long (the hotel only have 3 spots reserved on public space) and with busy streets at night (though we were on floor 4 and had double windows we could hear people up to late in the night. If you want to stay in the city, great choice. But you might want to reconsider that very first choice...
lori arispe (5 years ago)
Spacious room was clean. Staff was friendly and assisted with dinner/drink selections.
Hadrien Dieudonné (5 years ago)
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