Porto-Vecchio, or Portivechju in the Corsican language, is the third city of Corsica in terms of population, after Ajaccio and Bastia.
Also known as “La Cité du Sel” because of its exploitation of salt works between 1795 and 1815, the fame of Porto-Vecchio now exceeds the borders of the island of beauty. Its paradisiacal beaches, its picturesque citadel and its bustling summer animation are its main assets.
The picturesque old town of Porto-Vecchio offers visitors an authentic walk through its narrow streets and small plazas.
The citadel has a vibrant cultural life (many festivals and events take place) throughout the year.
Porto-Vecchio is also a lively marina with many bars, restaurants and ice-cream parlors that make it a must for a drink and relax on the terrace.
The city is today the first seaside resort of Corsica. Its proximity with the airport of Figari, its commercial port and its marina make that its location is ideal for holidays in Corse du Sud.
Porto-Vecchio must see
• The Citadel: Entering through the Genoese gate, you will discover a lively and pleasant city, offering a multitude of bars, restaurants and shops, as well as multiple plots. The citadel of Porto-Vecchio is a place where you can spend a good time with friends or family. Here you can see the 5 bastions that date from the foundation of the city in 1539.
• The marina: It can accommodate a hundred passing boats and has modern and ecological equipment that allows all types of boats to dock (up to 40 meters long). The port of Porto-Vecchio is bordered by many restaurants bars and glaciers, very lively during the high season.
• Porto-Vecchio salt marshes: Located at the mouth of the Stabiaccu, they are at the origin of the name “the salt city” of Porto-Vecchio, and offer a splendid panorama. The salt harvest was at that time a very important part of the city’s economy.
• Casa di Lume – Regional Cinematheque of Corsica: It is a place where the audiovisual heritage of Corsica is preserved: there are projections, exhibitions as well as numerous meetings, animations, etc. Created in 2000, the cinematheque has the mission of collecting, conserving but also valuing the rich heritage of Corsica.
• The Chiappa Headlight: Located on the tip of the Chiappa, to the South-East of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio, the lighthouse was commissioned in 1845. It is built more than 64 meters above sea level and is accessible by roads.
The reputation of the beaches of Porto-Vecchio is no more to do! White sand and turquoise water, it is a postcard landscape that awaits travelers.
• Santa Giulia: to the south of Porto-Vecchio, at the foot of a mountain and spread over kilometers of fine sand, it is one of the best known beaches of South Corsica. By staying in one of the hotels or one of the residences of Sud Corse Hotels, you will be in the heart of the bay of Santa Giulia!
• Palombaggia: true paradise with its turquoise water and white sand, the beach of Palombaggia is lined with umbrella pines.
• Rondinara: between Bonifacio and Porto-Vecchio, the bay of Rondinara has a form of shell.
• Saint Cyprien: Saint Cyprien, Pinarello and many other beaches and coves paradise bordering the region of Porto-Vecchio, in the Far South of Corsica.
THE HISTORY OF PORTO-VECCHIO
The Office of St. George, belonging to the Republic of Genoa (having dominated Corsica from 1284 to 1729), decided to found Porto-Vecchio in 1539 by strategic choice. In order to improve the defense of the island, and after having founded Bastia, Ajaccio, Bonifacio, Saint-Florent, and Calvi, It was necessary “the citadel to the south”!
The town of Porto-Vecchio had difficult beginnings: the presence of nearby rivers brought many diseases and the city served as a safe haven for pirates! The first Genoese settlers of Porto-Vecchio were carried away by malaria. The citadel was then repopulated with Corsicans, forcibly taken to Porto Vecchio. But little by little, the city’s unhealthiness and insecurity also prevailed, and the citadel found itself deserted again.
The first revolts
Several times, Porto-Vecchio will be destroyed and rebuilt after various invasions and battles.
The city was taken by Sampiero Corso in 1564, which had the will to defend the island and to fight the invaders. He provoked multiple revolts in Corsica without ever really succeeding in defeating the enemy. However, Porto-Vecchio will become a formidable point for the Genoese.
The economic development of the city
Owing to these events, Porto-Vecchio remained a very inactive city and mostly populated by small traders, shepherds and shepherds who descended the winter of the mountains before setting out again in summer for transhumance. It was only at the end of the 18th century that the city began its rise and left its urban character appear.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the road will extend towards Bastia and Bonifacio, industries will appear, the port will be improved and will benefit from infrastructures enabling it to fulfill its functions as best as possible. The marshes causing diseases will be drained to make the city healthier.
Porto-Vecchio is experiencing its true expansion in the 1930s and post-war years with the development of its commercial port and the tourist and economic development that goes with it.