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Culture & Tradition in Corsica

Corsica possesses a rich, highly diverse heritage, which has been shaped by many different periods of history. To better enjoy your holidays on the Isle of Beauty, we invite you to discover its fascinating culture and traditions, its customs, music and particular way of life.

Culture & Tradition in Corsica - Corsica

Corsican Heritage

Amongst churches, citadels, basilicas and Genoese towers, there are more than 270 protected monuments in Corsica: lovers of history and historical monuments will be delighted. As for the natural heritage, it is exceptionally beautiful. During your stay in a villa, discover the natural sites and protected areas of Corsica; the regional natural park which covers 40% of the department, the Scandola nature reserve, which extends over 1900 hectares, and the extraordinary Calanques de Piana.

Culture & Tradition in Corsica - Corsica

Discover the Corsican language

70% of the population knows how to speak Corsican, which has its roots in the Italian language. It has been recognised as a regional language since 1974 and is taught at the University of Corte. 
On the island, a few words of this century-old language will be much appreciated. For example, hello would be "Bonghjornu " and goodbye, "Avvedeci". To thank someone, you can say "Grazie". Easy, right?

The role of religion in Corsica

Corsica is particularly Christian, such are the ancestral rites that have marked its history. Religious traditions are still very much present on the island and lend a certain rhythm to life. During your stay, you will no doubt have the chance to attend one of the island's many celebrations, in particular the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which takes place on 15 August and is the national holiday. 
One of the most striking and impressive is without doubt the night of Good Friday in Sartene. The men of the village compete for the honour of carrying the 43 kg cross over several kilometres while draped in heavy chains to represent the torture of Christ. 
In the north of Corsica, the "granitola" is held, a procession that recreates the life of Christ to a soulful backing of moving Corsican songs.

Culture & Tradition in Corsica - Corsica

Corsican songs

Corsican music, and in particular its chants, are recognised throughout the world for their character and charm. The deep songs are passed on from generation to generation, from father to son and from mother to daughter. The instruments behind the voice were traditionally bone flutes or goat horns, but later other instruments were also introduced, including accordions, guitars and violins.

Culture & Tradition in Corsica - Corsica

Corsican Legends and Beliefs

The Moor's head: the Corsican flag represents the left profile of a Moor, wearing a white bandana. Several legends exist concerning its origin. According to one, a Moorish servant organised a plot against the king of Aragon, but a Corsican foiled the plot and brought the traitor's head to the king on a white sheet. The king of Aragon then thanked the servant and as a show of his gratitude declared: "this sheet will henceforth be the flag of your country."
The Eye of Saint Lucia: It is a shell found on certain beaches. In Corsica, it is considered a good luck charm. Legend has it that in the 4th century, a young girl obtained a miraculous cure for her ailing mother through total devotion to the Virgin Mary. She then tore out her eyes and threw them into the sea so as to never be diverted from her faith. As a reward, Our Lady bestowed upon her even more beautiful and brilliant eyes.      
The Mazzeri: According to legend, the Mazzeri is a sorcerer who possesses the gift of a deadly prophecy. At night, while dreaming, he chases and kills an animal, which then assumes the face of a person known to him. This person will then be doomed to die within a year.

Culture & Tradition in Corsica - Corsica

The island of beauty: what to read and watch to really immerse yourself in the atmosphere...

To get into the mood, or to relive the nostalgia of your trip, here are a few recommendations to read by the pool or to enjoy during a family movie night: 
The Corsican Widow, by Vanessa Couchman: set in 1755, this popular novel recounts the tale of a young country girl who has been married off to an older wealthy man, whose – as the title suggests – demise leads to a fascinating story of injustice, witchcraft and escape, all woven into and around the island’s beautiful landscapes and myths.   
The Corsican Brothers, by Alexandre Dumas: In this short novel, we are introduced to two twins, the rugged Lucien, who chooses tradition (i.e. Corsica), and Louis, who lives in Paris and is accused of denying his roots. Despite their separation, the twins have remained united by telepathy, a hereditary gift that runs in their family.
Nuit bleue (2010): This film, by Corsican director Ange Leccia, tells the story of a young woman, Antonia, who returns to her native island following the disappearance of a loved one. The spectacular Cap Corse is the backdrop for this gripping drama.

Discover our selection of luxury villas for your next trip Corsica

Villa Prima

5 Bedrooms

Villa 553

6 Bedrooms

Villa Letia

5 Bedrooms