The soul of the villages…
In Balagne, you truly have everything you need for a relaxing holiday, you have the sea, the sandy beaches and the seaside resorts. Now, leave the beach and those pleasures behind you and look towards the hills and mountains. Can you see the hilltop villages up there? They are a treasure trove of our culture and traditions. So what are you waiting for, come and discover them, and dive into the authentic side of Balagne!
While you are wandering around, make a stop in each inland village and you will be welcomed with open arms. Stroll across the village squares and watch the older generations of the locals going about their daily life. Visit the ruins of rural heritage, the fountains and wash-houses or the ancient stones of an old luxurious house, full of history. Also, don’t forget to stop by the craftsmen workshops, where ancient know-how and arts and crafts live on today.
Open your eyes wide and make the most of these moments of utter peace-and-quiet, where down a side street or at a village square, the absolute beauty of Balagne will be revealed to you! Maquis, olive trees and immortelles decorate the already perfect postcard scene before your eyes. Your senses will be awakened and your holiday full of unforgettable moments that you will want to share with your loved ones upon your return.
From Pietralba to Palasca…
Along the Canale
All the way from Pietralba along the shores of the Ostriconi, I Paesi d’Ostriconi is there to be discovered. This valley was once full of olive groves, vineyards and other crops. This past can now be seen through the terraces and the ruins of the aghje, fields of wheat, oil mills, and of course the Florentine-style houses. The villages of Pietralba, Lama, Urtaca, Novella and Palasca are built along the Canale, acting as a corridor running between the mountains. Come and discover the traditions and mixed farming practices here.
The villages along the Canale are not only steeped in history and traditions. They are also open to the outside world. In the rural countryside of Balagne, the village of Lama is a great example of this. Every year for the past 20 years now, this flowery village full of ancient luxurious houses, has hosted the Festival du Film. Feature-length films, documentaries, local and international productions fill the summer days in this picturesque village.
A unique place under the watchful eye of the birds up above
This magnificent wooded valley takes its name from the Regino river which flows from the Ghjunsani mountains, down into this fantastic wodded valley, and onto the beach of Losari. Now forget the beauty of the beaches for a few moments and look up towards the mountains. There is a superb view from the hilltop villages, overlooking the valley and the sea. They are facing each other, almost communicating. Along your way, you will get a taste of the peaceful life here and the craftsmen will be delighted to tell you all about their trades.
From Belgodère to Monticello, they all share this peaceful view over the centuries-old olive trees, the winding rural roads and the Codole dam wall where it is just wonderful to explore under the watchful eyes of the red kites above, iconic bird of the Regino wildlife.
Regino Valley is above all a place of natural beauty, classified in the Natura 2000 network. It is also a perfect place for families, the ideal destination for mountain biking as well as a land rich in culture and mixed farming traditions. Not to mention, for golf lovers, imagine swinging your clubs in the midst of the olive trees and maquis at the Golf du Reginu.
The Aregno Plain…
Sentry villages facing the sea
Let’s set off now towards the perched villages. From Corbara to Lavatoggio, you are now entering the Aregno Plain, proudly overlooked by the village of Sant’Antonino. Give in to the charm of the true beauty of the Corbara religious heritage sites. Then go through the doors of the arts and crafts workshops in Pigna and allow yourself to be well and truly amazed by the traditional Corsican music and polyphonic vocals in the auditorium.
You will enjoy the freshness of the narrow streets in Cateri. Now head into the natural garden that is the village of Avapessa. Let yourself be drawn into the colours of the olive trees, almond trees and citrus fruits of Aregno, which make the locals here so proud. Every year, at the beginning of August, the locals get together at the Fiera di l’Amandulu celebration of the almond tree, for three days of enjoyment. Finally, end your exploration of this part of the countryside at the beautiful village of Lavatoggio. Here, among other things, you will find the i lavatoghji, sources and wash-houses, which gave the village its name.
Set off towards Calenzana…
Finally, our exploration of Balagne comes to an end along the row of mountainside villages. Let’s stop for a moment in Lumio. We suggest going for a wander along the small streets which will lead you to the village clock tower which protectively overlooks the Gulf of Calvi.
Then carry on towards Montegrosso and the small villages of Lunghignano, Cassano and Montemaggiore. Here, you really get a feel for traditional village life where all generations live together in perfect harmony. If you happen to be here at the end of July, come and enjoy the unique A Fiera di l’Alivu, olive oil celebration.
Then, head to Zilia. Here, you will be able to taste all the delicious local products on offer… wine, water, biscuits. The neighbouring village of Calenzana, is an invitation to discover the rich cultural and religious heritage, under the protection of Saint Restitude. You can also find the iconic GR20 here, but only if you are well prepared for it! Finally come and visit Moncale, this small hilltop village in Balagne where you will have a superb view of Monte Grosso.