By Anne the 18/11/2022
Water is everywhere in Corsica. The island is a land of steep massifs, a mountain in the Mediterranean Sea, and it is home to numerous lakes, streams and rivers. Everywhere you go, you will hear the soft sound of fresh water flowing, providing a perfect backing track to the tranquillity of the island. Along the coast, the ebb and flow of the tides, as the salty water washes back and forth is soothing. And sometimes, the flow of the water rests between the land and the sea forming salty pools…
Seven of these lagoons can be found on the eastern coast of Corsica, they are fragile areas, each with its own unique environment, and each providing precious shelter to its own fauna and flora.
At sunrise, in the deepest of these ponds, a few ripples make the surface quiver as a boat passes gently by. A whistled tune carries on the air above the sound of the boat’s engine. At the lagoon of Diana , fishermen and shellfish farmers are happy to share their knowledge, though you’ll have to get up early to meet with them and to taste the fruits of their labour. In the north, a small island in the shape of an oyster shell shelters a small house where the ground is made not of earth, but of mussel and oyster shells. Many of them are still closed but slightly pierced with a small hole, an indication that the Romans were here, because this is how they used to eat them.
Scattered around the pond are restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the mouth-wateringly fresh dishes of the day. To the south a floating restaurant, reached by a small pontoon, offers seafood from the lagoon and local fish, served on the terrace overlooking the waters. Simply sublime.
Why not enjoy a seafood picnic on the soft sands of Mar’e stagnu , a long beach bordered by the river Tavignanu on one side and the lagoon on the other.
At this stunning site where fresh and saltwater meets, the Genoese tower of Diana has stood since 1582, watching over the landscape. Hidden by a few bushes, it dominates the horizon, and provides an irresistible view. Take the path behind it to explore the beautiful scrubland which is suitable for walking (for all levels), cycling and horse riding. This 10km path offers beautiful panoramas over the lagoon, surrounded the tall green Provencal reeds.
Follow the yellow markers and discover vineyards which stretch as far as the eyes can see around the lagoon of Diana, stretching as far as the horizon of the imposing Renosu massif.
Many wineries work the land around the lagoon and offer wine tasting sessions, some of which must booked in advance. The grape varieties planted on these lands have been renowned since Roman times. In autumn, as dusk falls, this is a wonderful spot to finish the day with a glass as you enjoy the sun setting behind the mountains, colouring the sky and the landscape with hues of orange and red.
Trees of the Year
Close to the lagoon of Diana are two particularly remarkable trees, which were elected trees of the year in 2011 and 2018. The contest, organised by the magazine Terre Sauvage and the National Forestry Office, rewards not just the most beautiful trees but also the most interesting trees based on their natural and historic qualities.
In 2011, a thousand-year-old pistachio tree won the contest and seven years later, it was Arbur'acellu of Ghisonaccia ’s turn. An evergreen cork oak tree with an unexpected shape.
Small tour of Urbinu
Plus au sud, se trouve un autre étang majeur de la Plaine orientale de la Corse, l’étang d’Urbinu. Comme pour la lagune de Diana, il est possible de s’y rendre pour déguster les productions locales et découvrir les lieux à travers des randonnées pédestres. Par la forêt ou le long de la plage de Pinia , on s’enfonce dans une zone sauvage et peu fréquentée.
Further south, Urbinu is another major lagoon on the eastern plains of Corsica. Like Diana’s lagoon , it’s a great place for hiking and tasting local products while you also enjoy the wild and rather secret and the beach of Pinia.
Natural site of Terrenzana
To the north of the lagoon Diana, you will find the lagoon of Terrenzana in an area protected by the ‘Conservatoire du littoral’. A path runs between the sea and the scrubland that leads to an observation hut and look out point. The site is open to the public and in this wild natural environment, you can discover a place that is simply steeped in a rich natural and human history.
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