The Region of Bastia
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Touring around the "côte toscane", Bastia has all the charm of old Mediterranean towns with its narrow streets flanked by tall buildings whose understated elegance is inhanced by painted shutters. Founded in 1378 by the Genoese that turned it into the island's capital, its name comes from the "bastille" or fortress that dominates the town. It is a lively place and one where you will enjoy strolling about at will; Place Saint Nicolas and the Place du Marché are both favourites with the local townsfolk and are always full of vibrancy and colour. From here you can tour round the old port by walking down rue Napoleon, looking at the shops and beautiful boutiques as you go. You must stop off and visit the Mattei buildings, creators of the famous Cap Corse aperitf. Other sights to see, this time of a more spiritual nature, are to be found in the chuches that sprang up all over the town during the 17th and 18th centuries. The church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Corsica's largest church, and the churches of Sainte-Marie and the Chappelle Sainte Croix will not ail to amaze you with their ornate Baroque interiors. If you are tempted to go for a swim, there are beaches not far from the entrance to the town. Pebble beaches to the north, sandy beaches to the south with the superb Mariana beach that borders the ornithological rerve of the Pond of Biguglia. Make the most of a trip there to explore the cathedral church of Canonica, a masterpiece of Ronam art. Bastia paves the way to the Port of Nebbio and Saint-Florent on the west coast. Set in the dip of the gulf that bears the same name, this fishing port is a very fashionable place to visit. With a lively nightlife around the famous marina where celebrities enjoy playing a game of pétanque, and many café terraces where you will enjoy stopping to watch the world go by. Wander at leisure through the old town, explore the citadel, a stunning monument from the Genoese period, and also the beautiful Ronam chuch of Santa-Maria Assunta, before sipping an aperitif in the Place des Portes.
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