Corsica’s Arche de Corte goes by a number of different names, among them the Arche des Padule (referring to the sheepfolds higher up)and the Arcu di u Scandulaghju en Corse, but whatever you choose to call it, you’ll find the experience unique. Overlooking the valley of Tavignano - Tavignanu, this hike is around two and a half hours walk from Corte - Corti (the old capital of independent Corsica between 1755 and̀ 1769) and is now only accessible to seasoned climbers. Known for this naturally formed granite sculpture, it’s a high point of the wild lands of Central Corsica. The site offers a panoramic view over mountains lined with giant conifers in particular Corsican Pine; laricio - u lariciu. A refreshing scent from the Corsican scrub emanates from below these woods at this time of year. Which is a blessing, as even now you undoubtedly feel the heat on the way up.
The hike starts in the Corti fortress carpark (in the Central Corsica region). We decide to set off in late morning so that we’re up there by the early afternoon, the best time of the day in this case as the sun will be behind the natural arch. The excursion will be hard; we know as we’ve practiced it many times. We thus decide to follow the orange markings that will lead us to our destination.
An hour later we arrive at the croix de Corbaghiola which, at 1,145 metres altitude, is the highest point in the Corti area. We recharge our energy from this breathtaking view over the snow-covered Monte Rotondu then take the time to admire the landscape, smell the scents of the scrub and enjoy the sun on our skin on this early winter’s day. In order to see Corti we climb to the side of the cross and the view is fabulous, with a panorama at this altitude and a clear sky. We can even see the plains of Aleria.
After our break we set off again and are ready to climb these mountains and rediscover this arch once again. After making sustained progress towards the summit of Polverella we continue our ascent under the pines. It will take us a little over 2 hours of hiking before we finally see our target.
From the top of its 1,468 metres, a spectacle like no other is revealed from this natural effigy. We take the time to contemplate the surrounding summits and enjoy the spectacle of nature in its grand immensity.
An atmosphere of tranquillity prevails at all times - up here we are but mere guests. You need only listen carefully to understand that while this place was once a historical path linking Corti to the Niolu region, it is now the full domain of the animal kingdom. In fact, it’s a haven of peace, a place where we can disconnect from civilisation and from the modern world and reconnect with the origins of Man. Its beauty is breathtaking and it’s a place where one-of-a-kind adventures can happen...
Departure point: Corte/Corti (410m)
Destination: The Arche/Arcu di u Scandulaghju (1,468 m)
Distance: 4.37 km one way
Difficulty level: Expert
Uphill: 1,000 m
Downhill: 1,000 m
Time needed: 5 hours (return)
FOR MORE INFORMATION :
Community of Communes of the Corsica Center: http://www.centre-corse.com/
Link to the Tourist Office of Corte: http://www.corte-tourisme.com/