Pascal Paoli and the Corsican Nation
Pascal who? The French destroyed the 1st secular republic, & tried to erase traces of it & its founder. As J.J.Rousseau said: I have a certain presentiment that one day this little island will astonish Europe (1769 The Social Contract)!
All this due to Pascal Paoli, in Corsican, Pasquale; the younger (of 4) born in humble Morosaglia (see section) 1725. His childhood dominated by the war of independence, the bourgeois landowners, like father, Dr. Giacinto Paoli, had enough of the greedy Genoese oppressing and exploiting Corsica. In Boziu villages chased the Genoese tax men away, & Corsica waged the first anti-colonial struggle. When Pasquale was 6, his father was elected to the triumvirate of primates, to head Corsica. In 1735 Corsica declared its independence & the beautiful Dio Vi Salvi Regina, a hymn for the Virgin, its national anthem. Genoa tried to starve the population, and in 1739, asked France to help by an army to squash the patriots. Pasquale was exiled to Napolis military academy where he was influenced by the enlightenment philosophies.
Eventually the Genoese assassinated father Paoli, and his sons elected Pasquale in 1755 to be the General of the Corsican Nation. He wrote a constitution, under the influence of Rousseau, that included the 1st human rights charter (copied by the USA). He opened public secular education, a university open to all (women and Jews!), set up printing press, and a tiny navy that surfed past a Genoese blockade to liberate the island of Capraia, & he ended that vendetta (ahem! by killing all the murderers). He became friendly with Rousseau, James Boswell, as well as the king Napoli (then the most enlightened kingdom of Europe). Try as the might the Genoese couldnt retake it, and in 1768 they got fed up and sold it for 2m lire to France. The French have been eying this little cookie for a long time, initially pushed out of the island, then arriving with a huge fleet. Little Corsica didnt have a chance, at Ponte Nuovo, 1769, it was defeated, & Paoli went to exile in London.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
The Corsican Lanugage
Before the Romans came along, according to archeologists, Corsican was a non-indo-European language that resembled Basque. Over the generations Latin evolved into a langauge close to medieval Tuscan Piestoain - Corsu. It was mostly conserved in oral traditions and had very little written tradition The north and south now differ in their dialects. It has nothing to do with French, and has some similarity to Italian ( beware! it is not Italian and Corsicans are sensitive to such comments).
The French have been doing their best to destroy this language, it was forbidden until 1974 to... spit and speak Corsican by law! Now they have loosened up a bit, but still restrict the language from obtaining a more institutional position. 70 percent of the Island speak it fluently, mostly between themselves. Dont try speak a few words you read in your travel guide to Corsicans, they dont like it.
There are now theatre shows in Corsican, the best group isU Teatrinu, The director, Guy, is a knowledgable chap and has a great sense of homour!Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
The tradition of the Mazzeri - Soul night hunters
Corsica has been a slow converter into Christianity, and many Corsicans still believe that a host of immaterial beings surround them, ghosts, spirits, often seen as the harbingers of death. Underlying these ancient beliefs is the concept of a dual universe - physical and spirit realm. Unlike Christianity, many Corsicans believe that the spirit is taken up to a year before death occurs.
One of the agents of death are believed to be the mazzeri, derived from ammazza, to kill. They are said to become so if they were not baptised or christened improperly. At night they dream they go into the maquis, and then their spirt is said to depart from the body, and kills the first animal it sees, a wild boar, goat, sheep, dogs, etc... Then they roll the animal on its back and recognise in it the face of someone in their village, who is set to die within a year.
A mazzere is said to be unable to choose his/her victim, and acts through a trance like state, and is thus not held responsible. They are not malicious by nature and often the prophecy greatly disturbs them. There are more women mazzeri believed than men, and are said to be more ferocious. There are still quite a few mazzeri in Corsica who are esteemed in their villages.
Corsicans keep these traditions quiet, and if you want to find out then listen with an open heart. The traidition may partly derive its force from the particular family structure in Corsica, and pre christian, animistic beliefs. Just try to listen, Corsicans are very sensitive about value judgements, especially in this case. For a bit more information in French see the web site below.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
People of Niolu
Not far from the entrance of the Santus Franciscus Niolensis monastery, is a small monument with a plaque reminding resistance days of the Niolu region (picture 2); here it says:” Corsican, don’t forget”, and it tells about patriots who have been hanged (it was before the invention of the Guillotine) by the occupation forces on June 23rd, 1774. . . they resisted to the French oppressor. . . . This was two and a half centuries ago, but, resistance is still a way of life in many parts of Corsica. . . . more here about that historical fact:
Today, there are still Nationalists in Corsica, and many of them have their origins in Niolu; the ladies on the first picture, who kindly accepted I photograph them, have certainly a nephew, son, brother, cousin engaged in more or less violent resistance. . . . I do not agree with the way the resistance is conducted in Corsica, but have respect for people fighting for their freedom, their self-determination. One is sure: the modest traveller, the one travelling on his feet, who has respect for the locals is always welcome in the Corsica mountains!
Who knows what stories the wrinkles on this face are memories and traces of (picture 3)?
The villages of Niolu are not postcard villages as written in the previous tip, but the church towers, the small houses, the narrow streets (picture 4) give them some character, and it is also nice to walk from one village to the other, taking along a picnic, or having a rest in the village’s small café or restaurant.
The Niolu tourist office (picture 5) was closed when I was in Calacuccia, but their website gives a lot of information (in French) about the region, and you certainly will find ideas for day hikes, treks or finding interesting churches or monuments. . . .
What is written above is not about “folklore”, despite the pictures you can see on the following weblink: this is about the commemoration at the Ponte Novo, of the early days of resistance and the “colonialist repression”.
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
Writing a few lines about the Front National de Libération de la Corse cannot be avoided when writing about Corsica, but nothing really political here, except that people who try to keep free have my respect, even I do not share their views on the way they do it most times. . . .
I wrote here about resistance in the Niolu tips, and here is a bit more; Corsica, before being part of France, “belonged” to Pisa, Aragon or Genoa for several centuries, with short periods of independence. In 1730, Corsica declared its independence from Genoa, and was soon occupied by imperial troops, at the request of Genoa; Corsica made an attempt of independence again in 1735 with establishing a constitution, but soon, Genoa asked France to intervene and the French troops routed the Corsican, led by Nationalist Pasquale de Paoli, at the Ponte Novo battle in 1765; Genoa asked then France to administrate Corsica from 1768and. . . new irony of history. . . the French Revolution declared Corsica belonging to France in 1789. Later a famous Corsican became French emperor, but the average population was still wanting to keep Corsican. Next irony of History: in 1943, Corsica was the first part of France to be liberated from German occupation troops! Liberated, but still belonging to France.
In 1976, the FNLC was “officially” created. The night of 4-5 may 1976 was marked by a “blue night”, a big number of bomb attacks, but no casualties, as they were mainly directed against official buildings, empty at that time. There are very few casualties in the attacks perpetrated by the freedom fighters, as they know that deaths will not make their cause popular.
You may find long lists of assassinated people in Corsica on the Internet, but, if some assassinations can be directly related to fight for independence (few policemen, gendarmes, a prefect. . ), most of them are more likely related to vendettas, banditry . . . and so far no tourist has intentionally been killed, just for being a tourist!
Later in the eighties, other clandestine groups have been created, and since, it is sometimes folkloric to learn about those attacks, but the people who do them mean it seriously!
There is ABSOLUTELY no danger to travel in Corsica, as long as you respect people (like everywhere, in fact!), and the foreigner would even hardly know about if there were no the tags on the roadsides, in the streets, or the commemorative monuments here and there!
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
Corsican's are really proud of their identity and their island. Corsican culture is its own animal, and the language is a lot closer to Italian than French.
The place in the picture is Ponte Novu where the French defeated the Corsicans and gained control of the island. The white flag in the picture has the severed head of an Arab chief on it. This is the symbol of Corsica, and you'll see it a lot. Maybe it's no wonder you'll see "Arabi Fora" (Arabs Out) graffitied everywhere.Related to:
- Historical Travel
E corne, the horns, are a sign made by a clenched fist with the index and little fingers outstretched to make like a head with horns to defend yourself against the Evil Eye:'Inuchjatura' or 'ghjettatura' or simply the 'Eye' - l'ochju. This symbol is frequently worn as a talisman.
The Evil Eye can be imparted without malice by accident, for example if one comments favourably on a baby, without adding God's blessing. Often simply referred to as 'the Eye', it can also be cast malevolently, when it will probably be necessary to seek the aid of una Signadore. A Signadore is a woman, who will have received her abilities on a Christmas Eve, generally from her mother, and who is able to reveal the patient's condition and deal with the Eye if it is manifested during her diagnosis. The symbolic ritual has been passed down through generations since time immemorial.
KISS KISS! The first thing I...
KISS KISS! The first thing I noticed about Corsican culture is the way people greet each other with a kiss on each cheek. I found this very strange and hard to get used to. I hated it! After a while, I got used to it, especially after realising I got to kiss every good looking french man I met!
Businesses and shops are...
Businesses and shops are usually open from 9 - noon and then again from 3 or 4 till 7. On a Sunday, most places are closed though bakeries are often open in the morning. In peak season, times may vary.
Tipping is normally expected...
Tipping is normally expected in restaurants and hotels even though a service charge is included in the bill. Taxi drivers and tourist guides expect tips too. 10% is the average amount given.
French is the official...
French is the official language in Corsica but Corsicans also speak their own dialect which is a mixture of French and Italian. I was a little worried about going to Corsica and having problems with the dialect but it was fine when I was there. Apart from road signs having French and Corsican names on them, the dialect wasn't really noticeable and everyone spoke French.
Public Holidays: 1 January -...
1 January - New Year's Day *
March/April - Easter Monday *
1 May *
Ascension Day *
Whit Monday *
14 July - National Holiday *
1 November - All Saints *
11 November - 1918 Armastice *
12 December - not official yet, but attempts are being made for a nationalist day. *
25 December - Christmas *
5 DAYS IN CORSICA
Need to find a hotel in Bastia for the night of 29 and 30 Jun: EASY I SUGGEST THIS HOTEL ALSO I HAVE NEVER BEEN AND I HAVE NO "SHARES" IN IT SO IT IS JUST A SELECTION AMONG ALL THE MANY HHOTELS THERE
30 Jun - Bastia. I want to learn the dialect an American tourist can use anywhere on the island to say simple things like: thank you, Please, hello, how are you, good morning
I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE VOCABULARY YOU REQUIRE CANNOT BE TRANSLATED 100% LITERALLY AS YOU SAY EACH AREA OF THE ISLAND HAVE THEIR OWN SAY. MAYBE YOU COULD INTERVIEW AND WORK WITH A TEACHER THAT TEACHES CORSICAN .
1 Jul - Take the train from Bastia to Ajaccio. How long does it take to reach Ajaccio and can you tell me what are the departure and arrival times? museum in the afternoon.
THE TRIP FROM BASTIA TO AJACCIO IS 4H00 AND IT IS UNBELIEVABLE AND BEAUTIFUL VERY SLOW AND QUITE SCARY AT TIME BUT UNFORGETABLE. YOU CAN GO TO THE TRAIN STATION IN BASTIA: ADDRESS: Gare de Bastia
Rond-point Maréchal Leclerc - BP 237 - 20294 BASTIA Cedex Tél. : 04 95 32 80 61
CHECK TIMETABLE http://www.bastia.fr//kiosque/guide_429f0b13b1a03.pdf
IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO VISIT NAPOLEON MUSEUM OPEN EVERYDAY EXCEPT MONDAY MORNING CHECK OUT
2 Jul - Spend the morning in Ajaccio sightseeing Either fly back to Bastia via air or take the train via the coast route back to Bastia.
UP TO YOU I WOULD GO BACK BY TRAIN NEXT DAY AND SPEND MORE TIME IN BASTIA BEAUTIFUL OLD TOWN TO EXPLORE
3 Jul - Maybe have time to go to the north cape area around Macinaggio by scooter in the morning.
BY SCOOTER SOUNDS LIKE A CHALLENGE I HAVE NEVER TRIED IT I KNOW THERE ARE SOME BUSES BUT PERSONALLY I WOULD RENT A CAR BUT IF YOU ARE USED TO DRIVE SCOOTER GO FOR IT, THE CAP CORSE IS AMAZING, MY FAVORITES are: CENTURI, NONZA AND ERBALUNGARelated to:
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The official language is french
The official language is French.Only women are regular church goers and men only enter the church during festivals.It is customrary to give a tip of about 10% to waiters and taxi drivers.Here is Vieux Port.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
I was so excited that we met THEM, my SISTERS!!! beeehh...
I'm born in the year of Goat, so every time I see some goats or sheeps on the road (like in Greece and obviously in Corsica), I know that my trip fellow will shout "look, your sisters!"... And it's always nice to meet someone from your family, no?:)
Av Sampiero Corso, sortie sud de Bastia - rn 193, Bastia, Corsica, 20600, France
Good for: Solo
Hotel Fesch is in a really great location .... in an area of interesting shops, nice restaurants,...more
Domaine De Pozzoniello, , Corsica, 20169, France
Good for: Business
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