Ajaccio (Latin: Adiacium; French: Ajaccio; Corsican: Aiacciu; Italian: Ajaccio) is a Town in the department of Corse-du-Sud, and head office of the Collectivité territoriale de Corse, the capital city of Corsica. Ajaccio is located on the west coast of the island of Corsica, 210 nautical miles (390 km) southeast of Marseille.

Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio in 1769 in the Maison Bonaparte, which is now open to the public. Other dedications to him in the city include Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport.

Culture and heritage

Ajaccio has a varied tourism potential, with both a cultural framework in the centre of the city and a natural heritage around the coves and beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Natura 2000 reserve of the îles Sanguinaires.

Civil heritage

Ajaccio has many historical-architectural monuments:

  • The Monument to General Abbatucci in the Place Abbatucci (1854)
  • The Monument to Napoleon I in the Place d’Austerlitz (20th century)
  • The Baciocchi Family Mansion at 9 Rue Bonaparte (18th century)
  • The Fesch Palace at 48 bis Rue Cardinal-Fesch (1827)
  • The Monument to the First Consul in the Place Foch (1850)
  • The Peraldi House at 18 Rue Forcioli-Conti (1820)
  • The Grand Hotel at Cours Grandval (1869)
  • The old Chateau Conti at Cours Grandval (19th century)
  • The Monument to Napoleon and his brothers in the Place du General de Gaulle (1864)
  • The Monument to Cardinal Fesch at the Cour du Musée Fesch (1856)
  • The old Alban Factory at 89 Cours Napoleon (1913)
  • The Milelli House in the Saint-Antoine Quarter (17th century)
  • The Hotel Palace-Cyrnos (1880), an old Luxury Hotel from the 19th century and a famous palace of the old days in the quarter “for foreigners” now converted into housing.
  • The Lantivy Palace (1837), an Italian palace now headquarters of the prefecture of Corsica.
  • The Hotel de Ville (1836)
  • Napoleon Bonaparte’s House (17th century) now a national museum: the Maison Bonaparte
  • The old Lazaretto of Aspretto (1843)
  • The Citadel (1554)
  • The Sawmill at Les Salines (1944)
  • The Lighthouse on the Sanguinaires Islands (1844)

Other sites of interest

  • The Monument in the Place du Casone
  • The old town and the Borgu are typically Mediterranean with their narrow streets and picturesque buildings
  • The Place Bonaparte, a quarter frequented chiefly by winter visitors attracted by the mild climate of the town.
  • The Musée Fesch houses a large collection of Italian Renaissance paintings
  • The Bandera Museum, a History Museum of Mediterranean Corsica
  • The Municipal library has many early printed books of the 15th and 16th centuries
  • The area known as “for foreigners” has a number of old palaces, villas, and buildings once built for the wintering British in the Belle Époque such as the Anglican Church and the Grand Hotel Continental. Some of the buildings are unfortunately in bad condition and very degraded, others were destroyed for the construction of modern buildings. The area still retains a beautiful architecture and is very pleasant to visit.
  • The Genoese towers: Torra di Capu di Fenu, Torra di a Parata, and Torra di Castelluchju in the Îles Sanguinaires archipelago
  • The Square Pierre Griffi (in front of the railway station), hero of the Corsican Resistance, one of the members of the Pearl Harbour secret mission,[59] the first operation launched in occupied Corsica to coordinate resistance.
  • The Statue of Commandant Jean L’Herminier (in front of the ferry terminal), commander of the French submarine Casabianca (Q183) which actively participated in the struggle for the liberation of Corsica in September 1943.

Religious heritage

The town is the seat of a bishopric dating at least from the 7th century. It has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, training colleges, a communal college, a museum and a library; the three latter are established in the Palais Fesch, founded by Cardinal Fesch, who was born at Ajaccio in 1763.

The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments:

  • The former Episcopal Palace at 24 Rue Bonaparte (1622)
  • The Oratory of Saint Roch at Rue Cardinal-Fesch (1599)
  • The Chapel of Saint Erasme or Sant’Erasmu at 22 Rue Forcioli-Conti (17th century)
  • The Oratory of Saint John the Baptist at Rue du Roi-de-Dome (1565)
  • The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta at Rue Saint-Charles (1582) from the Renaissance which depended on the diocese of Ajaccio and where Napoleon was baptized with its organ from Cavaillé-Coll.
  • The Chapel of the Greeks on the Route des Sanguiunaires (1619)
  • The Early Christian Baptistery of Saint John (6th century)
  • The Imperial Chapel (1857) houses the graves of Napoleon’s parents and his brothers and sisters
  • The Church of Saint Roch, Neoclassical architecture by Ajaccien project architect Barthélémy Maglioli (1885)

Environmental heritage

  • Sanguinaires Archipelago:
  1. The Route des Sanguinaires runs along the southern coast of the city after the Saint François Beach. It is lined with villas and coves and beaches. Along the road is the Ajaccio cemetery with the grave of Corsican singer Tino Rossi.
  2. At the mouth of the Route des Sanguinaires is the Pointe de la Parata near the archipelago and the lighthouse.
  • The Sentier des Crêtes (Crest Trail) starts from the city centre and is an easy hike offering splendid views of the Gulf of Ajaccio. The shores of the Gulf are dotted with a multitude of small coves and beaches ideal for swimming and scuba diving.
  • Many small paths traversing the maquis (high ground covered in thick vegetation) in the commune from which the Maquis resistance network was named.