Corte (Corti in Corsican) is located in the heart of Corsica, close to the island’s highest mountain peaks, half-way between Bastia and Ajaccio.
Corte was the capital city of Corsica during the brief and only time when Corsica was independent. It is cherished as such by the Corsicans and it is a very authentic town, which hosts the Museum of Corsica as well as the University of Corsica. Its location in the heart of the island’s mountains, with a much colder climate in winter than the mild Mediterranean coasts (it snows in winter), and many ancient villages around, makes it a place where you can really feel the Corsican soul and see what it was like to live there before tourism developed.
Corte cherishes the memory of Pasquale Paoli, the hero of Corsican independence, whose statue is erected in one of the main squares. The old town is built within a citadel on top of a very steep rock and it looks as if it was defying the mountains, which are high up to 2230 m. Corte is a starting point for various beautiful hikes, such as the hike going up to the lakes of Melu and Capitellu: just the road going up to the starting point of the hike is worth the trip, because you can drive across a beautiful pine tree forest. The nearby river Restonica is full of pleasant natural pools, so even though Corte is a bit far from the beaches, it is still possible to swim in the hot summer months.
The island’s main hiking path, the very difficult GR 20, passes right up the mountains above Corte.