In autumn, Cap Corse alone offers everything you could dream of for a great holiday. Wild and unspoiled nature, breathtaking landscapes, easy strolls or hikes like the famous Sentier des Douaniers, high-quality guest rooms and cuisine, and exceptional architectural heritage, such as the so-called American houses and Genoese towers. The region also offers the opportunity to meet farmers, artisans and producers who are passionate about what they do for those looking for something different. Cap Corse can be visited in 2, 3, 4 or more days. Take it at your own pace to match your desires and mood! Here I have some (great) suggestions on where to go.
1/ Lavasina at the gates of Cap Corse… A one-of-a-kind Ex Voto Museum
2/ The village of Pinu alongside the sea... The Marine de Scalu
3/ A night in a guesthouse: Maison Battisti being a favourite
4/ Visit a wonderful orchard in Barrettali... Have you ever seen a citron?
A few kilometres from Bastia is Lavasina, the gateway to Cap Corse… A one-of-a-kind Ex Voto Museum
This gallery in Notre Dame de Lavasina holds an impressive collection of ex voto donated over the centuries by the faithful in thanks to Our Lady of Graces. Pictures, embroideries and paintings have adorned the walls of the former Franciscan Convent which now houses the Museum. It was in the attendance of Brigitte and Antoinette, knowledgeable, passionate and fascinating guardians and guides of the collection, that I made my visit.
A special atmosphere is evident as soon as you enter this place, so steeped in history, with a wide stone staircase that led me to the exhibition rooms. White walls and red tiles created a warm contrast. Antoinette and Brigitte guided me into a large room where I encountered paintings, embroidery, votive offerings, canvases, paintings and simple sketches that depict storm scenes, washed-up boats, sailors in difficulty...Infinite tones of blue tell of the shipwrecks ofwhich sailors were victims during memorable storms.
A happy ending resulted in the production of these works, some of them priceless, thanking the patron of the place. Admiring these poignant works gave me a sense of the devotion borne by the Cap Corse people for Our Lady of Graces, instigator of many miracles.
Adjoining the old Convent, I entered the Church dating from 1677 facing the sea and seemingly watching over the sailors and travellers of today. Here I admired its colourful stained glass windows, its statue of Saint Anne, its recumbent figure and its monumental choir stalls where the painting of the virgin has just been restored. To my left stood the much venerated statue of Our Lady of Lavasina, where hundreds of candles burn in her honour and a characteristic odour floats in the air! A place not to be missed for pilgrims from all over Corsica.
Believers or not, young or old, help yourself to a moment of peace during a guidedvisit.
The village of Lavasina is located 10 minutes from Bastia in the direction of Erbalonga
A small free car park can be found near the Church of Our Lady of Lavasina
Arriving on the western slope of Cap Corse, I came across the village of Pinu sitting on a rocky outcrop...and alongside the sea the Marine de Scalu
The western part of Cap Corse is home to astonishing landscapes combining sea and mountains, from deep blue to orange-yellow, and is where the village of Pinu and its Marine de Scalu are to be found.
I walked towards the sea and the Marine de Scalu from the rocky peak of the village of Pinu, of which it is part. In the height of the summer season the houses are open, the small alleyways are bustling and the fishing boats wait on the pebbly beach. The scene I encountered was very different, but just as spectacular. The wind was blowing, as it often does in the region of Cap Corse, the waves breaking against the hundred-year-old stone houses built alongside the coast and the colourful boats which contrast with the stormy skies laid up higher on the land. The trees were without their pretty golden leaves, the sea scents and the spray adding a mysterious and poetic perspective to my walk.
The majestic 17th century Convent of Saint Francis watches over the Marine, with the famous Tower of Pinu standing behind it. I stopped for a few minutes and imagined the bells ringing. Autumn was well underway and the trees had lost their leaves. I especially appreciated the Marine de Scalu at this time of year, invigorating, bracing, abounding with scents and rich in emotions. The Marine de Scalu is likea wild emblem of Cap Corse.
Time needed for a visit to the Marine de Scalu: 1 hour minimum, you be the judge!
Small car park available near the Convent of Saint François. Follow a path to get to the Marine
In season the Marine has a small café
A well-deserved rest: Magical night in Conchiglio!
After a wonderful day of exploration, about 30 minutes from Pinu, be sure to check out a guesthouse like no other... A special atmosphere, an authentic old building, good meals and unspoiled nature… welcome to La Maison Battisti at Michel and Marie Pierre.
1 independent gîte (up to 4 people) On 2 floors, terrace, free wifi
Full meal on reservation € 25
Delicatessen open all year round
Maison Battisti Conchigliu
20228 Barrettali 04 95 35 10 40
Latitude :42°51’58.847 Longitude : 9°21’22.03
Visit to a wonderful orchard in Barrettali... Have you ever seen a citron?
Fruit trees, an eco-museum, a shop and passion… a lot of passion. My visit to the "Cédrats du Cap Corse" farm in Barrettali. "Les Cédrats du Cap Corse". The stage is set. Here they cultivate the citron, ancestor of the lemon, a little known fruit originating in the south of the Himalayas. This citrus has adapted to Corsica in a remarkable way, even “mutating” in reaction to its new environment. Indeed, the Cap Corse citron differs from its mostly inedible cousins.
Benjamin welcomed me to the farm, a passionate and fascinating young man whose knowledge on the culture, the origin and the transformation of the strange uneven fruit that is the citron is inexhaustible. With his knowledge, his pedagogy and his likeable humour, he succeeded in getting me drawn in to the history of the citron! The many explanations that punctuated the walk through the orchard made it more than pleasant.
I also learned about other species such as lemon caviar, an elongated dark green citrus fruit whose grains explode in the mouth to release a flavour that has no comparison, and also the Yuzu lemon, a kind of miniature citron, with an incredible fragrance and a surprisingly delicious taste. Both are very popular with great chefs. I found the surrounding colours of nature as tangy as the trees and fruits that surrounded me, with shades of greens, yellows and oranges, not to mention the contrasting blue of the sea. An explosion of colours to precede the explosion of flavours!
The visit continued in the shop and the ecomuseum dedicated to the citron. Large explanatory panels are displayed for the visitor. The reading is light and easy, accompanied by drawings, photos and old posters promoting the citrus star. The “5S” perfectly sum up the “citron spirit”: Santé, Saveur, Senteur, Splendeur, Sainteté (Health, Flavour, Scent, Splendour, Holiness). I'm not going to spill all the beans. I will leave you to learn about the incredible history of this very enigmatic citrus fruit during your visit.
Then finally we reached the long-awaited moment... Sébastien gets down to the business of the tasting of the products from the farm: Candied citron, jam, beer and liquor. The products are nicely arranged on wooden shelves with modern and colourful packaging in round delicious shapes, everything exudes originality, excellence and delight.
So if you go through Barrettali, do not hesitate to stop and visit the farm. Take a leaf from my book and let your curiosity lead you to learn about all the distinct forms of the citron!
Leaving Erbalonga, I reached the village of Pinu by crossing Cap Corse from east to west towards Luri (about 40 minutes to reach the Marine de Scalu). Conchigliu and Maison Battisti are about 30 minutes from Pinu. You can also visit the Cap Corse region in a "classic" way and make the journey by Macinaghju, Ersa, Centuri... All along the route there are grandiose landscapes, Genoese towers and typical villages.