Corsica is best known for its beaches, and to a lesser extent its mountain scenery. For me one of the best ways of discovering the island is behind the wheel (in a convertible if possible) and hitting the secondary roads. Over a series of posts I’ll cover our road trip around the Cap Corse and the North Western coastline and interior of the island.
Day 4: Piana to the Gorges de Spelunca and the Forêt d’Aïtone
It was time to start the drive back to Porto-Vecchio, so we drove through the Calanques de Piana for last time…
As you drive through Corsica, you’ll often come across roadside water fountains, although this one between Piana and Porto on the D81 is definitely one of the more elaborate…
Once we’d topped the car with petrol, we took the D124 (rather than the faster D84) going inland. The reason for taking the road is that once you go past the village of Ota and enter the Gorges de la Spelunca, about 2 km from the village is a sumptuous 15th Century Genoese arched bridge at Pianella. The bridge is only 20-30 metres or so from the roadside, so it’s easy to pop down for a photo (or swim). This bridge and another similar one can also be taken in on the Mare e Monti hike (a 6 hour hike between Ota and Evisa)…
We continued along the D124 before it joined back to the D84 on the way to Evisa.
The village is surrounded by chestnut groves and even plays host to a famous chestnut festival in November. Chestnuts are a staple of Corsican cuisine, where it’s used to make it in to a flour. It’s also used to make a great local beer and liqueurs.
Since we were in Evisa and hungry, we stopped at A Tràmula, le Caffè di a Posta which on top of being a bar and restaurant, has an épicerie. There’s a nice terrace around the back overlooking the village. We had chestnut flour pancakes with charcuterie and cheese, and some pork medallions in sauce (chestnut again?). And for dessert, a chestnut flan!
From Evisa and onwards through the Forêt d’Aïtone (a forest made up primarily of pine trees) we crossed the Col de Verghio which is 1,464 m above sea. Drive through here in winter, and you can ski as there’s a couple of lifts and a small resort!
As you continue on the D84 towards Corte, the landscape starts to change dramatically around the Golo valley. The Scala di Santa Regina gorge according to a popular tradition was created thanks to the intervention of the Virgin Mary at the end of a fierce battle between St Martin and Satan.
We stopped just outside Corte for a coffee, but there’s where this series of articles ends as we made our way back through Aleria and then down to Porto-Vecchio on the RN 198 back home. I’m sure we’ll write more soon on Corsica though, so stay tuned!