The museum is open to the public most days and it is certainly worth a visit. It was built by Napoleon’s uncle in the 1800s but has been since renovated and turned into a fascinating museum which is home to exceptional collections of Italian and Corsican painters. Taking a morning to slowly amble around the museum and soak up the ancient pieces of artwork, some of which dates to the 14th century, will only enrich your sailing holiday. The Imperial Chapel which is located just opposite the museum is equally important to see and the opening times are the same as the museum.
This is the childhood home of the Emperor and a visit here will fascinate you. A tour around the house will transport you back in time and enable you to gain valuable insight into the sociology of Napoleon and how his background shaped his later years.
There are numerous beaches spread all over the island and even scattered throughout the city’s coasts and each is different, bringing a unique flavour to your catamaran charter in Ajaccio. If you want to explore under the sea as well as dry land, you can rent snorkelling or diving gear from local activity centres or hire an instructor for a more personal experience. Most of the activity centres are great for beginners as well as more advanced individuals so don’t be scared if it’s your first time.
Alternatively, if you want to explore your natural surroundings with more height and perspective, there are many hiking routes and climbing trails which you can try out. Viewpoints and clifftops are studded along the gulf and they really do offer breath-taking views, so the climb is always worth it! You can reward yourself afterwards with a delicious meal in a local restaurant.
For starter, sample one of the famous soups in the region. There are all sorts of flavours available: onion, garlic and vegetable soups, and the traditional Corsican soup is made from haricot beans and herbs. If it’s summer and you think soup might be too heavy… think again! There are plenty of light and refreshing soups which will cleanse your palette. Didn’t we say that Corsica was a place for all seasons?
The Italians previously played a role in the history of Corsica so it’s no wonder the Italian influence has slipped into foodie realms – and we are not complaining! Who doesn’t love large and steaming bowls of pasta, dripping in rich sauces and served with piping hot vegetables which are fresh and locally grown? From ravioli to cannelloni’s, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out.
And now to touch on cheese or ‘fromage’ as it is locally known! Cheese is a necessary accompaniment with each meal. Goats cheese is particularly popular but there is also a local cheese ‘brocciu’, a creamy soft cheese, which is popped into just about every dish. It’s also eaten as a dessert after meals but look out for it as a key ingredient in tarts, omelettes and raviolis.
And for dessert? In typical French style, Ajaccio is not short of patisseries and often these little delicate treats round off a meal quite well. A healthier and popular option for dessert is simply fruit and this doesn’t disappoint. Fresh fruit on the island is tasty, ripe and juicy. With the extraordinary variety of plant species on the island and the dreamy climate, unsurprisingly honey is a traditional delicacy. There are 6 different varieties of Corsican honey which is a healthier and more natural alternative for those with a sweet tooth.
And to drink? Of course, wash down your meals with a glass of authentic local wine. The countryside and sunshine means that cultivating the perfect wine is a task many locals undertake and there is a wide variety of wines to choose from. Consider taking a wine tasting class or visiting the local vineyards during your catamaran charter in Ajaccio to gain a wider knowledge of the wines and how they are produced. Beers are also popular, and you can find delicious, fruity beers on the island.
The closest airport is the International Napoleon Bonaparte airport which is located no more than 30 minutes from the town itself, in the south-west region of the island. If there is no direct flight here from your local airport, there are 4 other airports on the island which you could consider flying to. You could also access the island by boat from neighbouring European countries such as France and Italy. Like these countries, Ajaccio uses the Euro and the local language is French.
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