Facing east towards the Tuscan coast, Bastia has the inimitable charm of an old Mediterranean city, with its narrow streets lined by lofty houses, whose discreet elegance is hidden behind painted shutters. Founded in 1378 by the Genoese, who made it the capital of the island, its name comes from the "bastille" (fortress) which overlooks the city. Bastia is a lively town, an impression that is intensified as you stroll through Place Saint Nicolas, a popular meeting-place for locals, or the Place du Marché, which is always colourful and bustling. After a tour of the old port, walk along rue Napoléon to explore the town?s shop?s and attractive boutiques, making sure you stop at Les Etablissements Mattei, producers of the famous aperitif, Cap Corse. Other more spiritual sights include the town?s Baroque churches, built during the 17C and 18C.