The town and the marinaJean-Paul Piras
The beach of Santa GiuliaJean-Paul Piras
Over the years, Porto-Vecchio - Corsica's third largest town with 12, 000 inhabitants – has become the island's main tourist resort, welcoming between 80, 000 and 100, 000 visitors at the peak of the summer season.
Located in the heart of the Extrême-Sud micro-region, Porto-Vecchio boasts an ideal position between the sea and the mountains: as well as having 40 kms of coastline, 5,000 of its 17, 000 hectares stretch across mountainous terrain which reaches 1, 314m its highest point, l’Ospedale.
The Pointe de la Chiappa Cape, equipped with a lighthouse and a semaphore signalling station, marks the end of the 9km long Gulf of Porto-Vecchio and offers a panoramic view across the Extrême-Sud area. The outline of the Cerbicale Islands, which are protected by the Straits of Bonifacio Nature Reserve, can also be seen from here.
Porto-Vecchio is home to many extraordinarily beautiful spots, such as the beaches of Santa Guilia and Palombaggia that you could easily mistake for the lagoons of Polynesia and are adored by water-sports enthusiasts and carefree sunbathers alike. It is also known as the “salt town” because for many years its economy mainly relied on the production of salt as well as that of timber and cork subsequently.
As for the city's history, 1539 was a key year, as the Bank of Saint George representing the Republic of Genoa chose the gulf of “Porti-Vechju” to construct a stronghold. Built upon huge pink porphyry rocks, the fortifications and their five bastions now shelter the old town and its many shops.
Porto-Vecchio has known how to develop a substantial variety of comfortable accommodation for visitors and has made the most of its practical advantages: the proximity of Figari International Airport, a trading port and a marina which currently houses 380 boats, of which the capacity will be increased in the very near future. Porto-Vecchio is thus an ambitious town which is always ready to take up new challenges to preserve its appeal. The various urban projects which have been carried out with the aim of improving daily life for the inhabitants (including the new, versatile Prunello multi-sport centre, a new crèche, an ambitious housing scheme and improvements to the road system) are further proof of the town's dynamic attitude.
At the same time, the “salt town” is far from forgetting its status as a cultural hotspot, which is especially strong thanks to a couple of special assets of which the influence spreads far further than the edges of the island: Corsica's “Casa di Lume” cinema complex and the Cultural Centre, both of which are housed in the Jean-Paul de Rocca Serra Centre. Two venues, with capacities of 350 and 120 people respectively, allow shows, film screenings, conferences and seminars to be held all year round. Besides this, the summer season brings a cultural explosion as rich and diverse events unfold all across the town: exhibitions in the Bastian de France, concerts in the Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste and plays at the Théâtre de Verdure, not to mention music festivals in the town centre and on the beaches, etc.
the Aiguilles de BavellaCaroline Orsetti (The Southern Corsica General Council)
The county of South Corsica is pleased to welcome one of the leading events at the beginning of the cycling season, the 80th edition of the Critérium International, which will be held in Porto-Vecchio for the second time. I would particularly like to thank Amaury Sport Organisation for having confidence in us once again.
The undeniable success of the 2010 edition is waiting to be repeated in a micro-region which is truly appealing. Indeed, the relief of our county offers an ideal setting for this competition and the race route will provide an opportunity to discover or rediscover our island’s treasures and diversity.
The Critérium International is also symbolic of the celebration and friendliness experienced by the riders, spectators and organisers on the county’s roads which we have aimed to make modern and safe.
So see you in Porto-Vecchio to watch a very spectacular event!
The Chairman of Southern Corsica General Council