Although Bastia and the other villages on the island are definitely not busy and chaotic metropolis, the impact with Capucorsu (as it is locally called) still causes a certain awe to the visitor, who is immediately caught by a desire to remain here for the rest of his holiday, spending the days just staring at the sea or walking in silence in the green vegetation.
A beautiful and easy walk is the one leading to the Genoese tower of Santa Maria: you have to leave from the Tamarone beach (north of Macinaggio) then follow the signs to the camping “U Stazzu”, 1 km far from the beach. The whole path winds along the coast, on the famous Customs Officers trail, which charm doesn’t come only from its name, but also from the stunning contrast between the green and blue colors of the flora and the sea, from the smells of trees and bushes burnt by the sun, and the tranquil and peaceful surroundings. The place is almost desert, and even at summer peaks it rarely happens to meet more than 4 o 5 persons.
A few minutes from the coast, opposite Tamarone, lie some small islands. On one of these the Genoese built a watching tower. Looking east, the gorgeous profile of the island of Capraia stand out from the horizon, looking closer than the real distance, and the Elba island, only visible in the clearest days.
With one hour of pleasant walk you can easily reach the spectacular half dilapidated tower of Santa Maria, shaped over the centuries by the unrelenting work of the wind and sea, in a suggestive combination of stone and sea.
Going back toward Macinaggio you may walk the path in the opposite direction, or take the alternative path inland, passing by the little church of Santa Maria, with the façade standing out as a white sail in the green of the low Mediterranean vegetation.
The village of Macinaggio, although pleasant, doesn’t differ much from the other tourist ports, while there are numerous other villages in the area of Cape Corso which are really worthy of visit, like Erbalunga (10 km north of Bastia), a tranquil fishermen village which is particularly visited during the celebrations on Good Friday; or Barcaggio, the northernmost point of Corsica, which can be reached on foot in a couple of hours with the Customs Officers Trail, taking advantage of the various bays spread along the way. Alternatively you can go by car following the street D253. Another lovely village is Centuri, with its characteristic wharf. The trail to reach this village from Barcaggio offers delightful sights on the sea, although it is not as good signaled as the other paths. Centuri is also the place where the famous liquor Cap Corse Mattei is produced. From the homonymous mill one can enjoy a superb view over the west coast.
Heading south along the coast you get to Nonza,a village clinged on a rock 100 meters above the sea. The village is built around the old church of Sainte-Julie and seems to climb up toward the Pauline tower, built in the XVI century in Genoese style. From the tower the sights open to the village lying under, to the Gulf of Saint Florent and the huge Black Beach of Nonza filled with messages left by visitors on the big white pebbles.
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