Thursday, April 20, 2006


The Italian connection

I've been booking my next off-season visit to Corsica this evening and I am reminded in doing so how close my favourite island is to the Italian mainland.

The direct flights from Gatwick to Bastia courtesy of British Airways and Excel Airways have already started, but for someone who wants to travel in the week, getting to the island can pose a few dilemmas. The obvious way is to go to Nice with a low-cost airline and then either take a ferry or an onward flight with CCM, an Air France subsidiary. A less obvious route is to fly to Italy with Ryanair (Genoa or Pisa), then hop on an excellent and punctual Italian train (to Savona or Livorno respectively) then take a ferry from there. It's worth a try if you are stuck or need to shave a few euros off your travel bill!

Corsica is close enough to Italy for your mobile phone to connect to an Italian phone company in some parts of the island - it's geographically nearer than France. There are strong cultural links with Italy too. Not only can native Corsican speakers just about understand Italians (and vice versa) but there are similarities and connections in architecture, food, wine... but these are each worth an entry by themselves.

So how are we going? I decided against the Italian route on this occasion, choosing instead to fly mid-week with BMI to Nice, then on to Calvi with Air France. We'll return with British Airways on one of their first direct flights of the year the following Sunday.

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