Bastia is a town in the Haute-Corse department of France located in the northeast of the island of Corsica at the base of Cap Corse. It is also the second-largest city in Corsica after Ajaccio and the capital of the department.

Bastia is the principal port of the island and its principal commercial town, especially famous for its wines.

History

Before the occupation of Corsica by the Genoese, Cardo was a large city. Around the city were little villages where the fishermen of Cardo lived. This little port was called Porto Cardo, meaning “the port of Cardo.”

The Genoese felt the need for shelter from the sea storms and in 1380 began to construct, under Governor Leonello Lomellini, a bastiglia, Italian for stronghold or citadel. With time, the bastiglia (Bastia) became more prosperous and important than Cardo. Bastia was the capital of Corsica until 1791.

In 1794, during a war with Revolutionary France, British troops under Admiral Nelson and Lieutenant-General David Dundas briefly captured Bastia.

Things to do

  • The Museum of Corsica.
  • The former palace of the Genoese governors, which now accommodates a Museum of Corsican Ethnography. The museum covers many topics: geology, flora, history, arts and folk traditions, contemporary art.
  • The fortress with its keep and its 16th-century bell tower protects Terra-Nova and offers great views over the old port, Terra Vecchia, the mountain and the coast.

Transport

Road

The main road to Bastia is the RN 193.

Railway

Bastia’s train station, which belongs to Corsican Railways, is situated in the city center and connects Bastia with Ajaccio and Calvi.

Seaport

In terms of passengers, Bastia is the first French port of the Mediterranean with more than 2.4 million in 2007. It is the second French port behind Calais (15 million passengers).

Airport

The Bastia – Poretta Airport is located 16 km (10 mi) south of the city, in the town of Lucciana.

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