Seen from the water, CALVI is a beautiful spectacle, with its three immense bastions topped by a crest of ochre buildings, sharply defined against a hazy backdrop of mountains. Twenty kilometres west along the coast from L'Île Rousse, the town began as a fishing port on the site of the present-day ville basse below the citadelle, and remained just a cluster of houses and fishing shacks until the Pisans conquered the island in the tenth century. Not until the arrival of the Genoese, however, did the town become a stronghold when, in 1268, Giovaninello de Loreto, a Corsican nobleman, built a huge citadelle on the windswept rock overlooking the port and named it Calvi. A fleet commanded by Nelson launched a brutal two-month attack on the town in 1794, when Nelson lost his eye; he left saying he hoped never to see the place again. The French concentrated on developing Ajaccio and Bastia during the nineteenth century, and Calvi became primarily a military base, used as a point for smuggling arms to the mainland in World War II. A hangout for European glitterati in the 1950s, the town these days has the ambience of a slightly kitsch Côte d'Azur resort, whose glamorous marina, souvenir shops and fussy boutiques jar with the down-to-earth villages of its rural hinterland. It's also an important base for the French Foreign Legion, and immaculately uniformed legionnaires are a common sight around the bars lining avenue de la République.[source: france-for-visitors]
The UNESCO-protected site of the Calanches, 5km southwest of Porto, takes its name from calanca, the Corsican word for creek or inlet, but the outstanding characteristics here are the vivid Orange and pink rock masses and pinnacles which crumble into the dark blue sea. Liable to unusual patterns of erosion, these tormented rock formations and porphyry needles, some of which soar 300m above the waves, have long been associated with different animals and figures, of which the most famous is the Tête de Chien (Dog's Head) at the north end of the stretch of cliffs. Other figures and creatures conjured up include a Moor's head, a monocled bishop, a bear and a tortoise. One way to see the fantastic cliffs of the Calanches is by boat from Porto; excursions leave daily in summer, cost €18 and last about an hour. Alternatively, you could drive along the corniche road which weaves through the granite archways on its way to Piana. Eight kilometres along the road from Porto, the Roches Bleues café is a convenient landmark for walkers.[source: france-for-visitors]
The Vault of the Madonna di A Serra is to be discovered on the heights of CALVI. This vault of the XIXe century is at 6 km in the south-west of CALVI. One reaches it by the littoral road of PORTO. It is a splendid view-point from where one can admire CALVI's bay and the mountains of Balagna. This place is to be visited without moderation more especially as in the vault, you will be able to listen to an excellent violinist in concert during all the summer season.[click]
Perched on the hills of Calvi, La Villa hotel offers a peaceful setting only 5 minutes drive from the town center. La Villa is aptly named for its beautiful design is that of a Roman villa overlaid with element of a Corsican Monastery with arcades to frame the splendid view of the bay with Calvi, and its citadel, quiet cloisters, luminous mosaics and hand-make terracotta tiles. To create a more personal and intimate ambience, the hotel has been made in to 4 residences composed of 52 rooms and suite with view on the sea and on the mountain.
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