Ancient Corsica Tour
Diary Images Messages Maps Resources Equipment Stone Pages Menu Bar

Online Travel Diary

Tavera Statue-MenhirTiziano's "Man with glove"Last Saturday we spent a little time in Ajaccio, Corsican "capital" and birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. But before going there, we visited the statue-menhir of Tavera, in our opinion one of the most expressive of the whole island. Next we reached the nearest telephone box from where - among spiderwebs and ads offering second hand concrete mixers - we could send our online diary pages.
In Ajaccio we visited two museums. The Fesch museum shows a collection of paintings bought mainly in Italy by the cardinal Fesch, uncle of Napoleon. As we are quite used to great Italian Renaissance art, we found the collection rather disappointing: the cardinal bought a lot of paintings by minor artists, but even the works by Botticelli, Raphael and Veronese displayed there are nothing special in our opinion. Only a portrait by Titian is worth the price of the museum's ticket. The second museum, A Bandera (The Flag), is much more interesting. Corsica and its people are represented there through the millennia: from the first inahabitants to the Second World War, through the Saracens' bloody invasions, the local riots for independence, Corsican women's place in history, daily life and legends.

Filitosa Central MonumentChat with Jean-Dominique CesariNext day (Sunday), we went to the splendid dolmen of Settiva (here is a panoramic view) that we could find only because a very helpful Mr Agostini - living not far from the dolmen - took us directly to the site (a steep walk in blazing sun). Thanks again Mr Agostini! Then we drove to Pila-Canale, where two statue-menhirs stand in front of the local fire station. Finally we went to our lovely auberge, a restored mill.
Monday was a busy day, because we went to Filitosa, the best known prehistoric site of Corsica, where almost 25% of all the statue-menhirs are displayed. Among the most famous, Filitosa V and Filitosa IX. We also found Filitosa VI very interesting: on its back the carvings of a helmet and a protective padding are easily recognizable. The central monument is undoubtely the focal point of the visit, but also the statue-menhirs put around a 1,200 year-old olive tree and the stone quarry are worth seeing. And even in the small prehistoric museum by the site are other three nice statue-menhirs (Tappa II is our favourite). For viewing the complete collection of Filitosa monuments' images, please visit the image gallery page or the mid-south Corsica map. Virtual Reality aficionados surely will appreciate our 360-degree panoramic views of Filitosa central monument and five stone warriors. After the visit we met the very friendly director of Prehistoric Centre at Filitosa, Mr Jean-Dominique Cesari, and had a brief but very interesting chat with him.
At the end of such a full day, we met U Paladinu statue-menhir that is not far from Filitosa. But it wasn't enough for our megalithic hunger: so we also tried to reach Tola di U Turmentu (Table of Agony) dolmen. But the Corsican gods punished our excessive desire of megaliths and after a very steep walk and a 90-minute frantic search in extremely hot weather, we couldn't find the monument.

Santa Naria Statue-MenhirVaccil VecchiuYesterday we left the Filitosa area and drove towards Sartène. On our way we stopped to say hallo to Santa Naria, the highest Corsican statue-menhir (3.74m). Its expression looks rather disappointed or surprised: probably because it is still lying on one side and it has never been re-erected... A few kilometers further on, beside the busy N196 road, are U frate e a sora. A legend says that they were a monk and a nun turned into stone after he raped and kidnapped her. In the afternoon our brave Twingo car took us along a horrible country road to Vaccil Vecchiu menhir, a solitary monolith standing at the centre of a little valley. Then we drove to Sartène, where we visited the local prehistoric museum and talked a little - half in French and half in Corsican (a language very similar to Italian) - to Pierre-Jacques, a nice young man working there. He is the owner of a real dolmen that lies in his backyard! A little tour around Sartène where fierce Corsicans keep their mobile phones in their socks (really! As seen in Place de la Libération) and here we are, at 2 a.m., in our little hotel room, writing our diary. Tomorrow will be the "Alignment Day"... Stay tuned!

Home | Diary | Images | Messages | Maps | Resources | Equipment | Stone Pages