August 6 - 12, 2017: Issue 324


Buildings overlooking the harbour with fortifications in the foreground.


By George Repin
The island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea, is 90 Kms. from Tuscany on the west coast of Italy and 11 Kms. north of the island of Sardinia.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio the island’s capital, in 1769.

Over the course of history the island was ruled by various nations.  From 1284 it was ruled by the Republic of Genoa.  After a brief period from 1755 to 1769 when it was an independent Corsican Republic, it was conquered by France and remains part of France to this day.  However, because of its historical ties with Italy, the island retains many elements of the culture of that country.

The port of Bonifacio on the Bay of Bonifacio, at the south of the island, is the prime attraction in Corsica.  It is a submerged ravine with a fjord-like appearance separated from the sea by a finger-like promontory 4,900 ft. long and 660 ft. wide. The harbour provides vessels with a maximum draught of 11 ft. and, effectively, is in three parts – a fishing port, a pleasure port and an area from which tour boats leave for Lavezzi Island and across to Sardinia.  The pleasure port is elegant with palm trees, bars, shops and restaurants.

The narrow entrance into the harbour of Bonifacio.

In addition to the port, the old town and the citadel are the main areas of interest.

The medieval old-town of Bonifacio is the oldest town in Corsica, set about 70 metres above the harbour in a spectacular setting on the top of the cliffs of the white limestone peninsula.  It is a maze of narrow cobbled streets and medieval buildings, picturesque squares and small cafes, entered through an imposing gateway in the walls of the citadel at the top of the path from the harbour. The centre of the town is around the Place d’Armes and the Place du Vieux Marché.  Important religious monuments include the 13th Century Church of Saint-Dominique and the 12th Century Church of Sainte-Marie-Majeure – the oldest building in Bonifacio.

The path up onto the peninsula.

The path on to the peninsula and road to the citadel.

The citadel.


Fortifications facing the sea.

Street scene.

Street scene.

Close up view of the stonework construction.

A walk onto the peninsula provides outstanding views of the citadel, fortifications and the harbour entrance with the red lighthouse across the water.  TheTerra di sole cimetiere marine – a lovely cemetery laid out like a small town, is here.

View across the harbour entrance towards the red lighthouse.

View over Bonifacio town.

 Terra di sole cimetiere marine.

Interesting window railing.

Interior of the Church of Saint John the Baptist.

The upper access to the so-called Staircase of the King of Aragon (Escalier du Roi dÁragon) is on the peninsula.  The staircase appears as a diagonal linear scar at an angle of 45º  in the limestone cliff when seen from the water.  It consists of 187 steps.  According to legend it was cut by the troops of the Aragon King Alfonso V, in a single night, during the unsuccessful siege of Bonifacio in 1420.  In reality it was made by Franciscan monks to reach a cave with a natural spring of pure water.

The way in to the top of Escalier du Roi d'Aragon.

The staircase.

The staircase seen from the sea.

The "pleasure port".

Enterprising use of limited space by a café.

Bonifacio is a popular destination for tourists both from mainland France and from Italy.   

(Photographs by George Repin in 2011)

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses   Cape Sounion   Delos  Wroclaw  Colonial Williamsburg  Gruyères   Strasbourg  Coventry Cathedral  The Roman Theatre at Aspendos  Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto  Rovinj  The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots 

Copyright George Repin 2017. All Rights Reserved.