Bonifacio Corsica Cruises
At the tip of Corsica is the ancient fortress town of Bonifacio. Its superb location on a narrow peninsula of dazzling white limestone at Corsica's southernmost point creates a town site unlike any other on the island. Bonifacio was established in the 12th century by the Genoese as their Corsican stronghold against the Moors, but an earlier settlement existed here already during Roman times. The name originated with Count Bonifacio of Tuscany who built a castle on the peninsula in 828. To this day, the Italian influence is very strong.
Bonifacio is one of Corsica's most beautiful towns and comes as a lovely surprise for many first-time visitors. It comprises the upper town, or Haute-Ville, and the lower town, consisting of the port, a marina and numerous restaurants and souvenir shops. The main attractions are located in the upper town, which is surrounded by enormous battlements. A flight of 100 steps, in addition to a more gentle incline of a roadway, leads to the upper town. The narrow cobblestone streets are lined by stately buildings; many house attractive shops and quaint restaurants. The 12th-century church of Ste-Marie-Majeure is well worth a visit. Its faÐ ·ade is hidden by a large loggia where the Genoese municipal officers used to dispense justice in the days of the republic.
Entering through the great Porte des Genes, one comes face to face with the impressive Bastion de l'Etendard, a remnant of the fortifications which were destroyed for the greatest part during the siege of 1554. Near the church of Ste-Marie-Majeure is the rue du Palais de Garde, one of the most attractive streets in Bonifacio. Its closed arcades and double-arched windows are separated by curiously stunted columns. Originally, the oldest houses along here did not have doors; the inhabitants used to climb up a ladder which they would pull up behind them to prevent a surprise attack. The ground floor was used as stables and grain stores.
Going ashore in Bonifacio will be a delightful experience whether you participate in a tour inland, explore the town on foot or take the local mini-train for a sightseeing trip around town.