Monday, October 06, 2008


Is this the scariest road in Corsica?

The roads in Corsica are nothing like as bad as they used to be. In fact, the main roads are as good as any in Europe - if you make allowances for the mountains and the bends and the sheer drops.

However, there are roads in the interior that are the stuff of nightmare. Forget the precipitous drops on the west coast road between Galeria and Piana: it's kids stuff these days. And the circuit of Cap Corse no longer holds the terrors it used to.

But head towards the Foret de Tartagine via Speloncato, and you'll experience the kind of white-knuckle experience you'd pay good money to experience in a fairground. And there's a road in the Niolu that would make a brave man weep...

We had gone for a day's visit to the Niolu, a basin enclosed by mountains which you can reach by turning right off the road between Ponte Leccia and Corte. After an interesting visit (and no, I haven't done it justice here), we decided to go home via the village of Corscia, up a steep mountain to the north of our road home. Going up was no problem, but as there was little room for turning round, we rashly decided to press on through the village, hopefully to rejoin the main road further east. This is what we found ahead of us and I just had to take a picture.

We did take our car down that road, but I wouldn't do it again, or recommend it to anyone else. Anybody found a worse road here? All suggestions welcome!

I took a look at your picture before reading the accompanying article - I thought that looks an awful lot like Corscia! My husband's grandmother was from that village so I have had the "pleasure" of going there a few times. Certainly not my favorite place on the island. At least we have cars to get up and down. Meme's dad was a shepherd and brought the sheep all the way down and all the way to Patrimonio where Meme met Pepe. That's one heck of a donkey ride!
Thanks very much for that comment Cara. You may also be interested in the item on Dec 18th 2007 which gives an archaeologists' perspective on transhumance - the process of which your husband's grandfather formed a part. As you say, that was one heck of a journey to do on a donkey, and here's me complaining abouit a car journey lasting five minutes! DTR
Roads like this are often a little scary when one side can feel so exposed. One which springs to my mind is a short road between Venaco and Vivario, due west of the main road by the new Pont du Vecchio. Signposted to the Forêt de Verghello it is only wide enough for one car and has a pretty fearsome drop down to the left. After a kilometre of two I turned round (a 12-point turn, edging back and forwards a cowardly two feet each time) and went back. I certainly didn’t want to meet anything coming the other way. Maybe I’ll seek out the forest on foot next time.
Another such road is at the end of the road going south east from the D143 which links the N193 near Venaco to the N200. Offering a very picturesque run, it begins as the D43, continuing as the D343. It runs through Noceta, Rospligiani, Vezzani and Pietroso, but it is the last 2-3 kilometres dropping down from just after Scalaiolo to the D344 at the eastern end of the Défilé de l’Inzecca. This last bit is the D344 but should really be an ‘F’! It feels very exposed all around, high to your left but sheer and open to your left. The views are great, but your heart sinks when you see a car – or worse, something bigger – heading upwards towards you in the distance. Fortunately, the rewards, as ever, are eventually gained. There’s a nice restaurant at the junction with the D344, a wonderful view of the man-made lake near Sampolo when you emerge from the tunnel at the western end of the Inzecca, and somewhere nice to bathe at the western end of the subsequent Défilé des Strette, just where a side road turns north (to Agnatello on the map).
It's all relative, though. By mainland standards, it may be scary, but if you are wanting to get the end of the road and then spend the day lying in the river, then no is likely to be the answer. That's the delight of enjoying landscapes away from the coast. I spent a day naked up there with my family equally cloth-free and not one on-looker passed us by - in mid-August.
how can you write a so cool blog,i am watting your new post in the future!
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