CastagnicciaTurning inland now, an ocean of forests awaits you. The origin of these forests dates back to 1584 when the Genoese organised the systematic planting of precious tree species, in particular chestnut trees. As the region was highly populated at that time, the orchard became a vast forest of chestnut trees giving its face and name to the area known as Castagniccia today (castagna – chestnut). A land of popular revolts (Pascal Paoli was proclaimed general-in-chief of the Corsican nation in 1755), Castagniccia will charm you with its character, its stone-roofed houses that all have their own “rataghju” (chestnut drying room) and its flamboyant autumnal colours. The region covers the three “pieves” (ancient parishes) of Alesani, Orezza and Ampugnani, all of which are an ideal place for forest walks from where emerge, like the light of a lighthouse across the sea, the sound of the peeling bells of the Baroque churches.

In the Castagniccia region there are many churches with ornate interior decoration in the Baroque style that are well worth a visit. The churches Saint-Pierre and Saint Paul in Pedicroce, Notre- Dame-du Mont Carmel at Stoppia Nova, La Porta, Giacatojo, Quercitello and the Valle d’Orezza are all listed as ancient monuments. There is also the magnificent convent of Alesani to see, which celebrates its festival on 8 September..


It is in this small village of the Castagniccia region where in 1725, Pascal Paoli, “father of the Corsican nation”, was born. A highly educated soldier, he led the insurrection against the Genoese in 1755. Appointed “general of the Nation”, he set up his capital in Corte and introduced a republican Constitution, built an administration, founded the Ile Rousse, the University of Corte.

However, in 1768 the Genoese handed Corsica over to France. Paoli organised a resistance movement, but his defeat in the battle of Ponte Nuovo in 1769, forced him into exile. A small museum has been set up in the house of his birthplace near to where his ashes now lie.



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