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on wandering the medieval streets of a citadel in calvi

During a recent trip to Haute-Core (Upper Corsica) and while driving north from Bastia to Macinaggio on the east coast of Corsica and down the west coast from Centuri to Cargèse, I noticed the many, many stone towers that dotted the two coastlines. Corsica is a, was a fortified island. They provided points of view for searching the waters for pirates and invading forces. The tower shown in the post, “on being high as a kite in nonza,” is an example.

Citadels—“a fortress, typically on high ground, protecting or dominating a city”—are prominent on Corsica as well. The major towns have them: Bastia has one that overlooks its harbor; Corte has one that sits on a high knoll that overlooks the surrounding countryside; Saint-Florent has one but it is modest and lacks interest; and Calvi has a large one that overlooks its port.

While the definition of “citadel” suggests a fortress, meaning a military base of some kind, the citadels on Corsica had villages in them. People lived there, and it is still true today.

In every town with a citadel, the citadel is a tourist destination for good reasons. They provide excellent views, often panoramic, of the towns, the countryside, and the Mediterranean Sea. The citadels are medieval in design and construction. Anyone wanting a partial sense of life during the Middle Ages will walk through their narrow streets.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

For me the citadel in Calvi, built in 13th century (sort of), was a natural attraction and well worth some time for wandering through it streets. Wall art, drawings, large murals covered some of the walls. What I found particularly curious were a series of images, all different, but of a child, that were drawn on many walls of the citadel.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Others wandered about the citadel as well. For its size though the streets seemed curiously vacant and the residents kept to their apartments.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

I chose to eat lunch at Amama, a restaurant not on the citadel but at its base and overlooking the port. I chose it because I saw they were serving a marmite du pêcheur, a dish I cannot often resist. That and a cinquante of Domaine de Granajolo, a local wine, and a favorite dessert, a crème brulée, made me quite happy. A drink, gratuit, freely given by the waitress, ended the meal.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

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