Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ajaccio (Corsica)

Best known as the birth place of Napolean Bonaparte, the town lies on the west coast of the island of Corsica, southwest of Italy and southeast of France.

Ajaccio, Corsica's largest town, has all the attractions of a typical French Mediterranean resort with beaches, palm trees, street cafes and a mountain range in the background. Ajaccio is situated on the west coast of Corsica, southeast of Marseille. In a sheltered position at the foot of wooded hills on the northern shore, the harbour lies to the east of the town and is protected on the southern side by a peninsula. The old town, around Place Foch, has narrow shaded streets lined with attractive, typically Mediterranean, houses and is very picturesque. There are a large number of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops around Ajaccio and the region outside the town has several nice beaches. The port bustles with activity and from here you can take a trip to the stunning Iles Sanguinaires, which seen from the shores of Ajaccio turn red as the sun sets (hence the name Bloody Islands).The house in which Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769 is preserved, and his associations with the town are everywhere, emphasised by street-names and statues.  The main thoroughfares converge on the PLace Bonaparte, most of the other streets are very narrow. The town also has the the 16th century Ajaccio Cathedral which houses Napoleon's baptismal font and a painting by Delacroix entitled Vierge au Sacre-Coeur.

The food of Corsica is based on fresh products and many charcuterie (pork meats), chestnut, pork and wild boar products, local seafood and broccio. Corsican charcuterie gets its distinctive flavor from the acorn and chestnut diet of the island's 60 000 free-ranging pigs. Corsica has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and moderate, dry, clear winters but the climate varies with altitude and it is more alpine than Mediterranean in the mountains. The main mountain range divides the island roughly in half, the North is hotter than the South, while the East is wetter than the West.

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