Porto-Vecchio, city of salt
A famous citadel in the extreme south of Corsica, Porto-Vecchiois one of the most important seaside resorts and the third largest city in Corsica. Portivechju is sheltered on the east coast, in a gulf overhung by the relief of the Ospédale and a wide plain that extends southward. It is called “the city of salt” because since the 18th century, the salt marshes, located at the mouth of the Stabiacciu River, have provided the city with a large source of income with a harvest of over 1000 tons per year. Today, unfortunately, they are no longer exploited, but Porto-Vecchio, sublimated by its paradisiacal beaches, is today a mecca for island tourism.
A Genoese citadel
Corsica, under Genoese domination since the 13th century, fought unceasingly against barbaric invasions, internal wars between local lordships and the church. In 1453, Genoa entrusted the island to a rich and powerful Genoese financial institution: the Office of St George. It was responsible for many towers and fortified towns built throughout Corsica. The citadel of Porto-Vecchio was built in 1539 on a pink porphyry promontory. Unceasingly victim of attacks of all kinds and destroyed four times until 1589, it was finally abandoned by the settlers, discouraged by these struggles and decimated by malaria.
Sold to France
The Republic of Genoa sold Corsica to France in 1768, while the Corsican nation was formed and mobilized around Pascal Paoli. The French contributed to the development of the citadel and the city gradually expanded into many hamlets, the main resources being cork, coal and wood. The only access to the citadel at that time was the Genoese gate. The city then opened to the south towards Bonifacio and to the north towards Bastia when the central street was created.
Malaria, over the centuries, has decimated many populations and forced the inhabitants of the city of salt to desert the seaside during hot periods to avoid malaria. Thus, in summer, the city was deserted by the locals who took refuge on the heights where it was cooler. It wasin the summer period when the herds were led up into the mountains for several months. It was only at the end of the Second World War, when Corsica was a strategic location in the Mediterranean for the Allies and NATO, that the Americans cleaned up the marshes and controlled the mosquitoes in the area with DDT.
A tourism boom
After the war, Porto-Vecchio gradually experienced a tourist boom, thus attracting new inhabitants. Hotels, restaurants and bars appeared, the marina developed and saw the arrival of boats which, initially carrying mail and goods, now carried tourists. The city also owes its reputation to a surrounding coastline that has nothing to envy the Caribbean: it has the most beautiful white sandy beaches, bathed in crystal clear waters and surrounded by a lush and fragrant maquis.
Porto-Vecchio, a renowned seaside resort
The port of Porto-Vecchio is being modernised and expanded, the marina is currently able to accommodate more than 6,000 yachtsmen and women and a VIP main quay is seeing the arrival of high-end tourism. The hotel structures have been organized to meet all the demands and the city has been enriched with a multitude of services and activities designed to animate the city of salt. Today, the city is famous for its late-night shopping, entertainment, hot nights and dynamism. Many cultural events, coloured with island traditions are organised throughout the year animating the daily life of the people of Porto-Vecchio, and delighting the tourists.