Genoese Towers

If you come to Corsica, it's impossible not to see one of the 85 Genoese towers… They have been encircle the island for thousands of years. Part of Corsica's heritage, some of these towers are even classified as a Historic Monument.

Accessible to all for the most part, you can get there by a short walk or even a hike depending on its geographical location.

After a brief historical reminder, we will present some tours that we like, and obviously located near The Villa Serena…

History and architecture of the Genoese towers

These are ancient fortresses erected in the 16th century when Corsica was a territory of the Republic of Genoa.

Usually round and stone (rarely square) they are usually built on three levels. Their average height varies between 12 and 17 meters, and their average width from 8 to 10 meters. The basement was a storage space for food and ammunition. The first floor was the life room of the guards. The second level and the terrace served as a surveillance site. The floors communicated using a simple ladder.

During an attack, the guards then made a fire at the top of the tower. All the towers lit up one by one, constituting an ingenious warning system, over thousands of kilometers of coastline!

Note: By abuse of language, they are all called "Genoese towers" but in fact some were built earlier, during the occupation of the pisans in the 12th century (so-called Pisan towers) and others later, on the order of Pascal Paoli (so-called paoline towers)

Location of genoese Towers
Interactive map 85 Genoese towers present on the island listed by Corsica-Matin.

Let's now look at the towers near Villa Serena, eliminating those that are really too much in ruins…:

The Tower of Capitello 

Distance from Villa Serena: 12 km

This tower, built in 1552, was restored in 1998, but remains inaccessible to the public. With its 42 meters of circumference at the base, it is more important than most of its sisters. Unlike the other Genoese towers on the west coast that are located on points or peninsulas, the Tour de Capitello was erected on a few rocks near the mouth of the Gravona and Prunelli.  

Access to the path to the foot of the tower is at the alta Rocca hut.

This tower is classified as a "Historic Monument":

The Capitello Tower

The Tower of Frassu  

Distance from Villa Serena: 14 km

From this tower you can see the city, and the landscape from the South Shore to the Isolella. Today, it had walls built identical to those of the 16th-century Pisan-style Romanesque churches.  

To get there, you have to go to the Porticcio cemetery, above the Terra Bella residence and take a hike in the scrub. This hike offers a beautiful view of the Gulf of Ajaccio, Porticcio and the Tour of The Capitello.

The Tower of Frassu

The Tower of the Parata 

Distance from Villa Serena: 19 km

This tower was built in 1550 – 1551 by Giacomo Lombardo. Cobbled stairs (quite steep) allow you to go back and forth at the foot of the tower and enjoy the panorama. It is rather well preserved, but it is not visited.

Its name means "land" tower, as opposed to that of "sea" which succeeded it on the island of Mezu Mare.

The Isolella Tower 

Distance from Villa Serena: 22 km.

A well-maintained trail, 500 m long, makes it very easily accessible. This Genoese tower built in 1608 was renovated in 1970, but is not visited. Located on the Isolella peninsula, this tower is a veritable small lookout overlooking not only the magnificent small coves of the peninsula, but also the entire Gulf of Ajaccio.

This tower is also classified as a "Historic Monument":

So do not hesitate to go to meet these towers, in addition to their historical interest, they offer a magnificent view of the landscapes because of their strategic positioning …

To go further:

Genoese Tours: 40 family walks, Volume 1: South Corsica (French) Broché – May 10, 2001

Genoese Corsica: economy, society, culture: modern period, 1453-1768 (French) Paperback – 31 May 1997

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1 thought on “Genoese Towers”

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