by Melinda Gallo

Around the Cap from east to west

Yesterday afternoon Marie and Todd invited us on a trip to Saint-Florent on the western coast of the "Cap Corse" (the Corsica Cape). So far we've been from Erbalunga (at the base of the Cap Corse on the easter side) up to the mill at the northern tip, Moulin Mattéi. So we left the house about 5PM, got gas, and headed west.

Living in Florence :: Around the Cap from east to west

The coastline on the western side was stunning: steep cliffs, water that seemed to go on forever with no land in site, and two-way winding roads that barely fit one car especially around the bends. You can't even see the road in front of you because of the tall trees on both sides.

We saw an old mine that seemed to have been abandoned and beaches that looked like they received some of the by-products from those mines. The beaches were a dark grey almost like wet cement. The beach didn't look as inviting as a nice beige-colored sandy beach, but a few people were sunbathing.

We kept driving and came across a town called Nonza. What can I say...we drove through it (and the picture shows almost all of the downtown area) and decided to stop to visit the tower on the hill, which is where I stood to take the picture of the Sainte-Julie church.

The town was delightful: people sitting at an outside bar under the shade of a few trees. The brightly painted church and a beautiful tower built of stone and sand. We walked into the church and I was surprised that on the back wall there was no statue or painting of Jesus. It was of Saint Julie, who is the patron saint of Corsica. There was a small crucifix near the altar to the left, but the church was dedicated to Saint Julie.

We walked around a little bit, but there are only three things to do: visit the church, take the stone steps up to the tower, and look out at the coastline and the horizon (no land in sight). Of course, we could've gotten an apéritif, but we decided to head onto Saint-Florent.

Saint-Florent was a larger town. The largest we'd seen since we arrived in Bastia a few weeks ago. It was almost foreign to us to see so many people and cars again. On our entire trip from the house to right before Saint-Florent, the number of cars that passed us was easily under one hundred, if not under fifty!

We walked around and went into shops. It was great to see shops again (especially since I'm so used to them in Florence where they are all over the place and it's hard to walk down the street without wanting to go into one...or two). For being a tourist town, it was fairly peaceful. There was a port with yachts lined up; one more beautiful and more extravagant than the next one.

We looked at a few restaurants along the port and weren't too thrilled. We took a small road (there were only two in the old part of town) to a small square where we saw a sign for a restaurant and a small walkway that lead down a little bit.

After a few steps we could see a small rocky hill behind the restaurant and the sea. The restaurant had an outdoor terrace that was tucked away in this small bay with only a building to the left and a rocky hill to the right. It was secluded and stunning!

I won't go into details about what I ate (or drank), but I will say that if I go back to Saint-Florent, I will definitely go back to this restaurant!

To get home, Todd cut through to Bastia and back up the eastern coast. It was interesting to see Bastia at night. All the lights, all the cars, the port, and a ferry boat. It got me thinking about our return back to Florence and how it's going to be bittersweet. We love spending time here in Corsica with our friends and their family. We love the peacefulness, the beauty, and the cool sea air. At least, we'll be going back to a somewhat "quiet" Florence, so hopefully our vacation will not seem like it'll end too abruptly for us.

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