“The Far South of Corsica”
Located in the south of Corsica the commune of Bonifacio, is only 12 km away by ferry from Santa Teresa di Gallura and lies in a small bay – now a touristic port – that has always provided a natural link between Corsica and Sardinia through the “strait” of the Bouches de Bonifacio which connects the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Sea of Sardinia.
Named after Bonifacio II of Tuscany, the urbanized area is currently a natural reserve and niche tourist destination, popular internationally as a diving location.
The old town rises high up above the sea, just as it did when it was turned into an invincible fortress by the Genoese. The overall appearance is unusual and striking: an indented, fjord-like inlet surrounded by dazzling-white limestone cliffs. With a centuries-old history, this famous destination and its landscape bear the layered marks of the later presence of Tuscan and then Ligurian settlements, a presence that lasted until 1768 when, with the Treaty of Versailles, the Genoese ceded Corsica to France. Once a strategic military outpost to protect the neighbouring coasts, which were guarded by the Maritime Republic of Pisa for two centuries and then by the Republic of Genoa, Bonifacio has found new life in modern times, becoming an important tourist attraction.
Discovering this enchanting place means heading to the city, with its charming harbour, and walking through its winding, narrow streets filled with local bars and restaurants. Notable sights include the church of St. Marie Majeure and its Bell Tower, commissioned by Bonifacio in the 12th century, as well as the Chapel of St Roch, built in 1528.
However, Bonifacio is especially renowned for its beaches, which are considered to be among the most beautiful in Corsica. The Plage de Sotta, Plage de la Catena and Plage de l’Arinella are particularly worthy of mention. Surrounded by crystal-clear waters in several shades of turquoise, this stunning coastal area is a must for diving enthusiasts, who will be able to explore an enchanted sea and the unspoiled nature found within its age-old fjords.
A few kilometres away you reach the southern border of the commune of Bonifacio, with the islands of Lavezzi and Cavallo, which are part of a protected area known as Réserve Naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio.
Lavezzi, the smaller of the two islands, is usually referred to in the plural form as the “Îles Lavezzi” (Lavezzi Islands) due to the rocks next to it, whose beauty encourages visitors to explore Lavezzi’s unspoiled nature, with its picturesque Mediterranean vegetation reaching down to the sea.
“Cavallo”, the bigger island just north of Lavezzi, is a privately owned protected area sitting at the farthest tip south of France.
Its beaches, scattered throughout the islands and covering a surface of about 15 Km, fully reflect the inestimable value of this coastal area: among them, let us mention Zeri, Greco, Palma – with a shipwreck and the remains of an ancient Roman wall – and Double, with its “Pietra del Cristo” and “Pietra del Bacio”. In addition to beautiful villas and apartments, Cavallo boasts exclusive tourist facilities: reachable by sea (or helicopter), it has a small marina where you can moor your boat. Near the marina, you will find the “Village dei Pêcheurs” (which offers a few seasonal activities) and then the “Yacht Club Cavallo” managed by the renowned “Hotel & Spa Des Pecheurs”.