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This guidebook gives details of three long-distance walking routes in Corsica - Mare e Monti, Mare-Mare Nord and Mare-Mare Sud - which cross the island, and also describes 18 day-walks in prime spots both in the rugged mountains of the interior and the softer southern coastal fringe. Good local information.
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The 'scented isle', or Corsica, is a paradise for walkers and leads to a memorable holiday. The stunning, time-tested, Mare e Monti, Mare-Mare Bord and Mare-Mare Sud long-distance walking routes, criss-crossing the magnificent island, are presented in this guide. A total of 26 days are spent on coast-to-coast routes through the rugged mountainous interior and the softer south, along with the exceptional coastal fringe. A supplementary section has a selection of 18 day-walks in prime spots, allowing you to explore the towering forests, gushing cascades, beautiful isolated coves, aromatic maquis and spectacular river gorges. Top scenery and unspoilt nature are unavoidable! A fantastic range of comfortable hostels and well-run hotels ensure the walker is never far from their overnight stop and the enjoyment of some excellent catering.
With its informative colour maps and photographs illustrating the guide, and its valuable content this is the long-distance walkerís ultimate guide to the randonnées of Corsica.
Updated: August 04, 2014
According to the European Centre for Disease Control 6 people were infected with schistosomiasis on the island of Corsica (France). All of the travellers were exposed to the freshwater in the Cavu River and had not traveled to other areas where schistosomiasis is known to occur.
CDC recommends that travellers to the island of Corsica avoid exposure to freshwater to prevent schistosomiasis.
What can travelers do to protect themselves?
There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent schistosomiasis. If you are in an area where schistosomiasis occurs, you should avoid having your skin exposed to freshwater sources, such as lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands. If you get potentially contaminated freshwater on your skin during a trip to areas where schistosomiasis occurs, talk to your doctor about getting tested and treated.
Avoid wading, swimming or bathing in freshwater in countries where schistosomiasis occurs.
Swimming in the ocean or in well-chlorinated pools is safe.
If you have to use freshwater, such as lake or river water, for bathing, treat the water in one of 3 ways to avoid infection:
Filter water with fine mesh filters (pore size of 30 μm or smaller) to remove the parasite.
Heat bathing water to 122?F for 5 minutes to kill the parasite.
Keep water in a storage tank for at least 24 hours before use to kill the parasite.
If you feel sick and think you may have schistosomiasis:
Talk to your doctor or nurse if you feel seriously ill, especially if you have a fever.
Tell them about your travel. Describe in detail where and for how long you travelled, and explain that you may have been exposed to contaminated water. Ask if you need to be tested for schistosomiasis.
page 43 Mare e Monti. Day 5
Day 5 Girolata to Curzu. The path has been redirected and now follows what is described as the varient in the 2013 reprint of our book. The original route is now abandoned and extremely overgrown, with some paths fallen away and sometimes no water available. Please do not use this original route from Girolata, which is now abandoned.
P139 The bridge over the river San Antoine has been washed away. When we were there last month the water was low enough to ford easily. It looks as though they are preparing to replace it.
Mare e Monti Day 6 - pp45-46 - the path has been rerouted and no
longer touches on the D81 road. Follow waymarking carefully and you walk
directly into the village of Serriera.
The maps for Mare e Monti are sheets 4149OT, 4150OT and 4151OT
p69 and pp123-6
The bridge over the River Tavignano is no longer a hanging structure, but has been rebuilt with steel and wooden beams.
|When to Go|
|Getting to Corsica|
|What to Take|
|Food and Drink|
|Mare e Monti: Calenzana to Cargèse|
|Mare-Mare Nord: Cargèse to Moriani|
|Mare-Mare Sud: Porto-Vecchio to Propriano|
|1 St-Florent Coastal Route|
|2 The Fango Valley|
|3 Visiting Girolata|
|4 Spelunca Gorge|
|5 A Calanche Walk|
|6 Capu Rossu|
|7 The Aïtone Forest and Rock Pools|
|8 The Paglia Orba Loop|
|9 The Tavignano Bridge|
|10 Glacial Lakes in the Restonica Valley|
|11 La Cascade des Anglais|
|12 Trou de la Bombe|
|13 Foce Finosa|
|14 Zonza–Quenza Circuit|
|15 Cucuruzzu and Capula Archaeological Sites|
|16 Punta di a Vacca Morta|
|17 Piscia di Gallo Waterfall|
|18 The White Cliffs of Bonifacio|
|Long-Distance Route Summaries|
|Glossary of French and Corsican Terms|
‘The land of the vendetta, the siesta, complicated political games, potent cheeses, wild pigs, chestnuts, succulent blackbirds and ageless old men who watch life go by'
R. Goscinny and A. Uderzo, Asterix in Corsica
Add to the above rugged mountain ranges, crystal-clear rivers, turquoise coves, romantic forests, the unforgettable scents of the maquis scrub, easygoing people, comfortable hostels and refuges, together with a host of well-marked paths, and you have, in a nutshell, an unparalleled paradise for walkers.
Its shores lapped by the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas, Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. It has a surface area of 8682km2 (3352 square miles), is 183km (113.7 miles) long and 83km (51.5 miles) wide, and is blessed with a stunning 1000km (621.3 mile) coastline. Moreover, some two-thirds of the land mass is taken up by an ancient mountain chain punctuated by a good 20 peaks well over 2000m (6500ft), while one-fifth is forested, and since 1972 a sizeable regional nature park has covered a vast 3500km2 (1351 square mile) central swath of the island.
Corsica – or Corse in French – is administered by France, despite the fact that it is closer to Italy in both cultural and physical terms. A mere 90km (56 miles) separate it from the Tuscan coast, not to mention the narrow 11km (7 mile) strait with Sardinia, while it lies 170km (105 miles) from the Côte d'Azur in the south of France. The population of approximately 260,000 includes large numbers of mainlanders, along with a sizeable percentage of people of North African and Italian origin, drawn by work. In contrast it is said that due to unemployment more native Corsicans live in France than on the island itself.
Fanciful tales abound to explain the island's name. Phoenicians, the first seafarers to arrive, apparently referred to it as Ker-Cic (‘slender promontory'). The Greeks came a little later and for them it was Kurnos (‘covered with forests'). Legendary Greco-Roman hero Heracles put in there after labouring to fetch the golden apples at the world's end. He left one of his offspring, Kyrnos, in charge – hence the name. Perhaps the most colourful story comes courtesy of Roman mythology, wherein it belonged to a maiden called Corsa who had swum across from Liguria in pursuit of a runaway bull! Continuing the worldwide need for an explanation for events and naturally occurring phenomena, to this day island life is infused with incredible accounts of miracle-working native saints at odds with ghostly spirits and the gruesome acts of the devil.
Corsica's very first inhabitants are believed to have migrated from north Italy around 7000bc. These hunters and gatherers developed into herders, and were joined by later arrivals responsible for the prehistoric menhirs and dolmens dotted through the hills. As is the fate of settled islands, vulnerable by their very nature, Corsica was raided periodically by Saracens and Barbary pirates, then occupied at length by the Pisans, who left some lovely Romanesque churches, and the Genoese, who stayed from the 13th century through to 1768, when they ceded it to France at a price, leaving a heritage of memorable citadels, watchtowers and bridges. In the meantime island-wide rebellions had produced an enlightened period of autonomy under Pasquale Paoli (1755–69), concluding curiously at the same time as the birth of Napoleon Bonaparte at Ajaccio. There were also limited stretches under English sovereignty, as well as occupation by the forces of Italy and Germany during the Second World War when soldiers all but outnumbered locals. The ongoing independence movement, fiery at times, has dropped off considerably of late. It won 24% of votes in 1992 but a mere 16% in 1999. A 1990 French statute gave the island limited autonomy, however a greater measure was narrowly rejected in a historic 2003 referendum. There continues to be occasional violence from Corsican separatists.
Corsica is catching up with the rest of France and Europe in leaps and bounds in terms of standard of living, though figures remain marginally lower in terms of income, schooling and employment. The lack of industrial development, a negative factor in the past, is now turning into an advantage as visitors are attracted to this unspoilt paradise. Tourism is rapidly becoming a major factor in the economy, alongside livestock and agriculture, with cork, tobacco, wine, citrus fruit and olive oil all being produced for export.