The territory of Eastern Corsica encompasses sea and mountain. Located on the eastern coast of Corsica, as the name Corse Orientale suggests, it consists mainly of agricultural and aquaculture land with the cultivation of citrus fruits, vines or shellfish farming such as mussels and oysters. Eastern Corsica is also the choice for environmentally friendly holidays. Tourism that is considerate and respectful of the environment. A wide choice of relaxing eco-friendly activities are available to you... Electric bike or scooter, kayak, hiking trails, educational trails, and many other activities. Today I will introduce you to a dynamic Eastern Corsica, cradle of youthful innovation and which dares to mix ancient heritage with the present, a journey between the traditional and the modern!
1/ Walk around Etang d'Urbinu
2/ Visit to the distillery and the U Massicciu food shop
3/ Magical night at “La Pause Chisà” in Chisà
4/ Visit to the Mondange cellar at Maison Pierraggi
5/ Electric scooter ride in the Pinia forest
The Etang d'Urbinu, its fauna, its flora and its snow-capped mountains! Unspoiled nature and a protected area to explore near Ghisonaccia
Classified as a nature reserve by the Conservatoire du Littoral, the Etang d'Urbinu - Stagnu d'Urbinu - (Lake of Urbinu) is located a few minutes north of Ghisonaccia. A walking path has been marked out in order to preserve the different ecosystems coexisting on the site. Explanation panels are available to visitors on the banks.
On the advice of the Corse Orientale Tourist Office
located in Ghisonaccia, I begin my journey by the Etang d'Urbinu! The day is perfect: it is early December and the temperature around 15 degrees, not a single cloud to be seen and an autumnal sun is high in the sky. It is at the end of a road along green meadows, a landscape sufficiently unusual in Corsica to be worthy of mention, that the Etang d'Urbinu finally appears. As soon as I arrive, I feel how unspoiled and quiet the place is... The only sounds that reach me are the chirping of birds, the lapping of the water and, in the distance, the barking of a dog. I pass the restaurant open during the summer months. The furniture is stored away, only the wooden terrace on stilts remains. I make myself a plan to come and taste mussels and seafood when it reopens! The walk that winds along the lake is sometimes on dry land, sometimes over the water on wooden pontoons. The place is magical: the sun reflects on the water which shines like thousands of diamonds, the sky is deep blue and the snow-capped mountains in the distance seem to watch over Urbinu. I could use every superlative and it still wouldn't be enough, the landscape is so strikingly beautiful. The walk continues through a semi-wooded area made up of strawberry trees, oaks and heather. This unspoiled environment transports me with the scents of the different wood species mixed with the marine scents emanating from the lake. Earlier I saw fishermen, nets and boats, a sign that fish farming is not incompatible with a protected area. Thanks to the explanation panels installed on the banks, I learn a little more about its history, the fishing techniques and the different species that live in the lake: the grau, the common tern, the plankton, the seagrass beds, the seaweed, the oyster farming, mussel farming… The cycle of life which repeats itself tirelessly under the protective eye of the Conservatoire du Littoral. As an alternative to the traditional outing to the beach, this is a walk as beautiful and romantic as it is instructive. Go with the family or on your own.
GENERAL INFORMATION :
The Etang d'Urbinu has been a protected area since 2007.
It is the 2nd biggest lake in Corsica. It contains the largest herbaria of cymodocées (plant with submerged flowers) of the Corsican littoral.
Direction: 15 km from Ghisonaccia north exit
Car park nearby
Rules: camping, bivouac, fires, waste deposits and motor vehicle traffic are prohibited.
U Massicciu distillery: chat with Laëtitia and Anthony, passionate young distillers
These two do not lack resourcefulness, since it was in their student room that they started distilling! Strong (and proud) of the support of their friends and family, they persisted and evolved towards this end. It is Anthony who welcomes me and introduces me to the distillery and its copper and gold stills. Objects with a soul that only Anthony can make work "I have repaired and improved this still, I like to work with tools that meet my needs. The bottling line has also been modified, I'm the only one able to use it!" Anthony's great passion shines through as he shows me around. Wild myrtle, chestnut, nepita, organic lemon, wild mint, raspberry, clementines and hazelnuts… the smells, perfumes and flavours meticulously chosen for distillation and which come from different regions of Corsica. On the shelves are bottles that look like perfume containers, sober, elegant, refined... They house a Corsican rum, the Tia, fermented, distilled, aged and bottled on site, a gin called Corsica London Dry Gin with flavours of the island: juniper, coriander, myrtle, lemon and rosemary "powerful, subtle and elegant", as well as fruit spirits with evocative names such as Epica, Acquata, Preziosa or Salvaticu... Anthony confides to me that it is Laëtitia, his other half, who is the talent behind the design of the containers. She also takes care of the food shop that they have just opened in the centre of Ghisonaccia: a warm and cosy place where high quality delicacies rub shoulders with the production of U Massicciu. A nice mix of genres that gives you the urge to forget about your diet for a while at the end of this year! If you pass by Ghisonaccia, be sure to indulge in a small gourmet detour in the shop of Laëtitia and Anthony!
Stéphane and his "Trott'In Corsica" electric scooters: Try a gentle eco-friendly activity!
All that was missing were a few (preferably gentle!) activities to complete this journey in Eastern Corsica... It is therefore to Trott'In Corsica that I turned. At first glance it looks like a bicycle, then on closer inspection… it looks more like a scooter with bicycle wheels and handlebars! This electric machine, for young and old (from 10 years upwards) is the ideal companion for long trips with family or friends. Stéphane, who will accompany you, offers different trip combinations: The forest of Ghisonaccia, the beach of Aleria, the vineyards of Aleria or even the crest path from Sari Solenzara. I did not test the scooter this time, but I can assure you that Annabelle in the role of the novice and Stéphane the pro guide, had a great time together with a bit of sport in the Pinia forest!
The Mondange cellar at Maison Pierraggi: a family tale!
Laura and Andria Mondange inherited their passion for wine. Coming from a family of winegrowers, they began to take an interest in wine at a very young age! They opened their cellar and degustation area at Maison Pierraggi, in the town of U Petrosu, in June 2021. Laura welcomes me with a big smile that can be felt through her mask. She explains the grape varieties to me, Biancu Gentile, Muscat petit grain, Vermentinu, Genovese... she presents me some projects including the creation of food-wine pairing workshops to promote local producers and wines to the general public. Through organic conversion, they are passionate about what she calls the riacquistu of Corsican grape varieties, namely bringing up to date the grape varieties of yesteryear cultivated by generations past. A super initiative!
Laura shows me around the cellar where barrels rub shoulders with stainless steel, concrete and wooden vats. The winemaking odours abound, which differ according to the containers used. It is cool, the temperature here must not exceed a certain temperature. Laura is a walking encyclopaedia of winemaking techniques. You can sense the passion that has grown over the years, and it is in partnership with her brother that she intends to continue on this trajectory.
The large wooden terrace with a view of the vines will soon host special events, tastings, meetings, etc... projects of all manner which will, we hope with all our hearts, make for the best days of Domaine Mondange!
Try a rather different experience of a night in the Corsican mountains in Chisà!
About 25 minutes from the village of Travo (south exit of Ghisonaccia), how about trying this unique place? Surrounded by nature and at the foot of the snow-capped mountains, welcome to La Pause Chisà with Julie and Lionel Giovanni.