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History & Discovery

The Balagne Region

The team of the Sole mare hotel welcomes you to its wonderful Corsican region , The Balagne.

We have at your disposal many itineraries and other walks that you can enjoy during your stay with us in Calvi.

You will discover our wonderful historical, natural and cultural heritage.

We wish you to appreciate all these landscapes and sumptuous panoramas as well as the Corsican craftsmen who make Corsica so authentic!

>> Map of Calvi & Balagne <<

>> Good Addresses <<

>> Hiking - Calvi Surroundings <<
A bit of history of Calvi

In 1278, the bourgeois of Calvi, exhausted by the rapacity of the lords of northern Corsica, voluntarily ranged under the protection of Genoa. The Genoese volunteered accepted, and to secure the confidence of the city they granted to Calvi privileges and franchises. That was really effective if we judge by the motto engraved above the gate of the citadel :

CIVITAS CALVI SEMPER FIDELIS (the city of Calvi always loyal).

In fact, until the end of the eighteenth century, when Corsica became French,
Calvi's support to the Republic of Genoa was never in default.

Citadel of Calvi :

The ramparts of the citadel shelter a second city. After crossing the monumental gate you arrive in the former palace of Genoese governors, nowadays a barracks of the French army. In front of it stands the Giubega Palace, which was the residence of the bishops of Sagone in Calvi.
Beyond the ramparts, the vast old residences seem to supervise the coasts. The Phoenicians, a people of maritime traders, would have used this bay as a shelter in the 5th century BCE. But it was by the time of the Genoese occupation (XIII century) that the citadel of Calvi was built. Even if the beache of the Gulf of Calvi extend for miles, the city itself is quite small. However, one get lost with great pleasure in the alleys and staircases of the citadel, among some crooked houses, that are all plastered in soft colors.
The Quay offer the best viewpoint on the Citadel. You will see an isolated dungeon, just in front of the ramparts, is the tower of salt. It used to be a warehouse, after being erected as a fortification.
The Saint Jean-Baptiste church - Calvi :

The church of St. John Baptist deserves a visit, because it houses a miraculous crucifix: it is an ebony cross that is called Black Christ, or Christ of Miracles. During the siege of Calvi by the Marshal de Termes, in 1555, the calvais went around the ramparts in procession with that crucifix to chase the enemy ... .and miracle; the siege was raised.
In Calvi, we don't refuse the wondrous. Moreover, we like to say that the navigator Christopher Columbus was born here. On the heights of the citadel, you will indeed see a plaque fixed near the vestiges of walls that it identifies as those of the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. It is true that he was Genoese, just like the city of Calvi. It is also said that the navigator gave typical Corsican names to some fishes found in the Caribbean Sea. Why not after all? And what happened to the house? It was destroyed by english bullets, launched during the siege of 1794 . During this historic episode, among the audacious British officers who attempted the assault was a certain Horatio Nelson. And it was in Calvi that he lost an eye. In the maze of alleys you will also see a plaque evoking the stay of Napoleon Bonaparte in Calvi in 1792.He was seeking refuge after fleeing Ajaccio, where he had opposed the independence
The Sainte Marie-Majeure church - Calvi :

From your hotel in Calvi, go to the city to visit the marine that is situated in opposition to the citadel. For that you can orientate you by the tower of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore; one of the most extraordinary monuments of Calvi. This sharp tower was built between the eighteenth and nineteenth century near a circular building housing among other things, a remarkable organ of the eighteenth century. The church itself, it's beautiful and baroque and stands in the shopping street of Calvi, la rue Clemenceau.
The tip of the Revellata with its lighthouse - Calvi : :

When we talk about Corsica and its landscapes of dreams, 3 natural elements are always related : its fragrant scrub, its wild coves and its sea of clear, pure water and azure and emerald colors.
This is what we suggest you discover by going to the tip of the Revelatta. The sea is so pure on this side of the coast that a marine biology centre called "STARESO" has settled there. During your walk on this trail, you will be dazzled by these views and intoxicated by these smells. Wild coves await you to relax or bathe.
Notre Dame de la Serra Chapel - Calvi :

The Chapel of Notre Dame de la Serra is a building that was built between 1850 and 1860. In the past it was a sanctuary, built in 1479 and reduced to pieces during a siege suffered in 1794.
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Serra has many qualities, both in its design and in its geographical positioning, offering a simply incomparable panorama. Indeed, the chapel dominates Calvi and allows its visitors to enjoy a view of the entire gulf.
On a rock next to it, a statue of Mary stands, as if to symbolize the protection she exercises, according to past and present beliefs, over the city.
Every year, on the 8th of September, the Nativity is celebrated by honoring the Chapel of Our Lady of the Serra as well as the statue of the Virgin.
Capu di a Veta (Cross of the Austrians) - Calvi :

Sublime hike that makes us take the height to admire the grandiose bay of Calvi and the villages of the hinterland. The departure takes place from Notre Dame de la Serra to follow the mountain range until the climb of the summit of Capu di a Veta (670 meters above sea level).
Very pleasant walk with as a backdrop, the tip of the Revellata, the bay of Calvi, the villages of Lumio, Montegrosso and Zilia and on the East side the forest of Bonifato and the Cinto massif with its snow-capped peaks that peak at more than 2000 meters of altitude.
Bonifato Forest and Figarella River - Calenzana :

For hikers as well as small walkers or simply nature lovers, we propose you to discover the forest of Bonifato. Located about twenty minutes by car from Calvi, this forest of more than 3000 hectares of maritime pines, lariccio pines and holm oaks will intoxicate you with its fresh and fragrant smells.
Crossed by the Figarella, you can also take advantage to relax at the banks of its water basins or bathe.
From the Auberge de la forêt de Bonifato, you can reach the famous GR20 trail either by joining in Carozzu at only 2h30 walk or by joining Ortu di piobbu at 3h30 walk.
Other smaller trails are also accessible to small walkers.
One of the beautiful loops not to be missed since Bonifato is that of Bonassa by which you can also reach Tuarelli.
If you decide to make this loop do not hesitate to continue higher than the pass up to Punta Bonassa to discover the magnificent panorama that awaits you there.
Fango Valley - Galéria :

Located about 45 minutes from Calvi, the Fango Valley is one of the largest oak forests in Corsica and Europe.
In this valley, you will find all along the torrent natural pools in basins of pink granite. These pools of crystal clear emerald water await you for beautiful dives.
To get there from Calvi, you have 2 possibilities: take the road from the airport towards Galéria, or the coastal road of Ajaccio.
La Route des artisans - From Calvi to L'Île Rousse :

>> Interactive map <<

In 1993, the craftsmen of Balagne were brought together by the Chamber of Crafts, and thus was created the association "La Strada di l'Artigiani".
A year later, they decided to create a thematic road with this name.
Between Calvi and Ile-Rousse, you will discover the villages of Balagne, and meet passionate men and women and proud to share their jobs and their know-how.
Calvi, Calenzana, Cateri, Lumiu, Corbara, Santa Reparata di Balagna, Monticellu, Pigna, Aregnu, San Antoninu (village classified among the most beautiful in France), villages where you will make wonderful encounters and discoveries such as the art of pottery, glassware, cutlery and other crafts such as beekeepers, winegrowers, olive growers, biscuitiers...

You will have the opportunity, for those who have the taste of walking and hiking, to take paths with magnificent views! The loop of the Pieve d'Aregno and the Tower of the Cima Sant'Anghjulu for example.
The lighthouse of La Pietra - L'Île Rousse :

If you take the north direction out of Calvi, you can reach the town of L'Ile-Rousse by the costal road, in only an half-hour. There you can visit the islet of Pietra and is lighthouse, at this iconic place of the city grounded by Pascal Paoli in 1765.
This islet of Pietra is at the origin of the famous “Ile Rousse” which gave the name to the city.
The Pietra means the big stone, but in Roman era, it was called "rubico rocega, the red rock".
The past is still visible on the island of Pietra thanks to a defense tower built in 1570. But the lighthouse, it is much more recent. It dates from 1857, constructed under the direction of Napoleon III. It was built to lighting the maritime routes, and was part of a global policy of lighthouses-constructions in Corsica.
The Natural Reserve of Scandola and its village Girolata :
The beach of Saleccia - Desert Agriates :

Saleccia beach is one of the region's top destinations and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Corsica. The beach stretches for more than a kilometre of white sand bordered by clear turquoise water, which is home to some of the less shy fish, as well as starfish further out.

The Agriates desert is located between the village of Saint-Florent, south of Cap Corse, and the Ostriconi valley, north of Ile-Rousse.
The 16,000 hectares of desert were once used to grow wheat and olive trees. They were also home to numerous flocks of sheep and ewes. This mountainous area has nothing to do with a classic desert, there is an abundance of fauna and flora, and above all 35 km of coastline with heavenly beaches!
The Ostriconi :

One of the wildest and most beautiful beaches in Corsica, the Ostriconi beach enjoys a fascinating location between the ocean and the mountains. It is located a few minutes drive from L'Ile Rousse and is easily accessible despite its isolated location. The beach is rarely overcrowded and you will have no problem finding a place to lay your towel on its beautiful sand curve.
Here, we are on the border of the famous Agriates desert, a preserved part of the island where there is no construction and where the only access roads are dirt roads. The Ostriconi beach is one of the access points to the Desert with which it shares the total non urbanization.