Destination Corsica: Why Not Choose… Calvi?
Fans of beaches and idleness, nature lovers for the scent of the maquis, great epicureans or experienced sportspeople: welcome to Calvi! With the small beach train or hiking, sailing and scuba diving baptisms, the tasting of local products and craft expertise as well as polyphonic songs: a generous and festive Balagne awaits you.
With its citadel and its marina “at the top”, and its narrow cobbled streets and sea front “at the bottom”, Calvi abounds with treasures to discover!
The Upper City: magnificent historical monuments
From the citadel of Calvi, built on an enormous rock overlooking the sea and surrounded by great walls, you will feel you have returned to the 16th century; but more importantly, you will experience a breathtaking view of the harbour and the surrounding land. Before entering the citadel, take the time to read the motto of Calvi engraved in Latin at the entrance, “Civitas Calvi semper fidelis” (Calvi is always faithful).
Do not miss a visit to the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral, where very old objects are displayed, such as the secular baptism fonts and the Black Christ of Miracles. And at the Saint-Antoine Oratory, you can see three murals from the 16th century and a painting separated in three parts representing the Crucifixion and the Annunciation, as well as a Christ on the cross from the 17th century.
Another point of interest: the Salt Tower. Built in 1495, this imposing tower is a former watchtower where salt was stored. The Sagonne Bishops’ House and former Governor’s Palace, two architectural wonders, will definitely leave you enthralled.
According to legend, Christopher Columbus came from Calvi; and despite its pitiful state, the house where he was born is still standing.
The Lower City: beaches, sun and the wonders of Corsican crafts
Calvi benefits from the beautiful setting of the Corsican coastline between sunny points, cliffs and coves, without forgetting the clarity of the water which is ideal for scuba diving.
In the harbour district, stroll along the wharf, wander through the colourful narrow streets or enjoy the view directly over the harbour from one of the many terraces and enjoy the lovely setting of the moored sailing boats.
“Rue Clémenceau” , a pedestrian street in Calvi, offers a relaxed and colourful atmosphere. This is where you will find all the craft shops: fashion, jewellery, textiles, local products... nothing is missing!
Finally, a quieter environment is also accessible. Nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts, take one of the paths that leads up to the Revellata lighthouse. Away from La Pinède and its bustle, the Revellata peninsula offers perfectly preserved nature and invites you to enjoy a moment of stillness and meditation.
Top 10 Must-Sees
The Citadel of Calvi: in an unwavering setting with a wealth of history and heritage, the citadel rises with pride above the city. It invites you to stroll through its narrow cobbled streets and to discover the universe in which Christopher Columbus was born. Perched on its rocky headland, it offers a 360 degree panorama of the city, the marina and the mountains flowing into the sea.
The former Governor’s Palace: previously known as “Castel Nuovo”, this palace was the residence of the governors of Corsica. This massive building from the 13th century features a magnificent dungeon that can still be admired.
The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral: located in the heart of the citadel, this classical Baroque style cathedral dates back to the 13th century. Initially the property of the Genoese monastery, it was then built as a cathedral. As it was damaged several times and partially destroyed, a large reconstruction in 1567 gave it the appearance that it still has now. The interior, all white, contains many works of art.
The Saint-Antoine Oratory: very close to the Governor’s Palace, it is the headquarters for the brotherhood of Saint-Antoine, saint of the poor, which today still hosts meetings and brotherhood ceremonies (masses, patronal feasts, Tenebrae Service, Holy Week, etc.), as the building has never been desecrated.
The Sagonne Bishops’ House: built in the 16th century, this palace was the residence of the bishops, which was later acquired by the Giubegga family, after the Revolution. Its architecture is perplexing, as here, the spectacular Palace spreads out in all its splendour.
The House of Christopher Columbus: it is an old traditional belief in Calvi that Christopher Columbus was born in Calvi and not in Genoa. By wandering through the narrow streets of the Upper City, you will find a large square ochre-coloured house with a slightly dilapidated appearance. As you approach, you can read the commemorative plaque indicating that it was in this ruined house that the “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” was born in 1451, while Calvi was cited as emblematic and faithful of the Genoese.
The Revellata Peninsula: a magnificent point of greenery that stretches out into the sea, above the city, the Revellata abounds with beaches each as beautiful as the last. Small coves, white sand and turquoise water offer a simply beautiful setting.
The Revellata Lighthouse: a square tower with exposed stone work, this lighthouse rises approximately one hundred metres above the sea. Built in 1838, it forms part of the 5 lighthouses that surround the island. Today, it houses an Oceanographic Studies Centre.
The Notre-Dame de la Serra Sanctuary: by taking the picturesque path from Calvi to the Notre-Dame de la Serra Chapel, you can enjoy some of the most beautiful views of Corsica. Perched on a headland, this small church offers a breathtaking view over the bay of Calvi and the Reginu valley. A must-see during your visit!
The Bonifato Forest and its Figarella River: approximately 20km from Calvi, this forest is a place for magical walks. The small Figarella river, composed of natural swimming pools, meanders along the forest path. You will be transported into a refreshing atmosphere which contrasts with the heat of summer.
Local products and exceptional flavours
In addition to the very well-known Corsican specialities, such as wild boar, lamb and grilled fish, Balagne offers a rich gastronomy. It produces delicious sheep’s milk cheese, Calinzana and Bastelicacciu, and in 2004, it obtained the “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” (Controlled Designation of Origin) for the “Olive Oil of Corsica - Oliu Di Corsica”. As a region that is also renowned for its honey, it operates 250 hives offering a high quality honey.
Finally, the more greedy will succumb to the fiadone, which is a sweet prepared with a brocciu (cream cheese) and lemon base, without a doubt the most popular Corsican dessert!
June: Calvi Jazz Festival
During the 5 days of this festival and as of 18h, the marina and the Saint-Antoine Oratory transform into concert venues. And at 21h, many concerts are also organised near the ramparts. Each year, this festival welcomes a hundred artists including known names of jazz as well as young artists.
July: Calvi on the rocks
A program of innovative and cutting-edge electro music in the enchanting seaside setting of the small Corsican city. Founded in 2003, Calvi On The Rocks is today one of the most popular French festivals and is always continuing to evolve.
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Vols direct Nice - CALVI
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