Cargèse (Carghjese in Corsican) is a small town located on the west coast of Corsica, north of Ajaccio. It was founded by descendants of Greeks who had settled in Corsica in the 17th century, fleeing the Ottoman occupation of Greece. It is very famous in Corsica for having two churches, one of Byzantine Greek rite and one Catholic, facing each other on the town’s main square. The town is nowadays still referred to as “Cargese, the Greek”.
It is located on the west coast of the island, at the end of the Gulf of Sagone, the next gulf north of Ajaccio; after Cargese, the coastal road continues towards the famous cliffs of Piana, on UNESCO’s world heritage list.
Cargese was founded by Greeks coming from the Mani peninsula in Greece, who emigrated from the Ottoman Empire to Corsica in the 17th century. The Republic of Genoa, who was then ruling Corsica, granted them asylum. It is interesting to note that the Greek family names were Italianized for integration purposes, the most common example being Papadakis that was turned into Papadacci. The Greek church, which is dedicated to Saint Spyridon, still performs Byzantine Greek religious services. Cargese is a beautiful and very flowery village with an amazing view over the sea, great beaches, and a Genoese tower accessible by foot a little away from the town.