Driving Route from Cotre to Zonza, Bonifacio, Sartène, Propriano & Ajaccio
Col de Vizzavona
From Corte a rewarding side trip can be made to the southwest, through the beautiful Vizzavona Forest to the Col de Vizzavona (1,163m/3,816ft), on the ridge formed by Monte Rotondo, Monte d'Oro and Monte Renoso, on which most of the island's rivers rise.
On the Corsica driving tour, from the beautifully situated little town of Vivario D69 runs southeast to Ghisoni. Here, however, a detour is recommended, going east from Vivario on D343 to Vezzani, situated high above the Tagnone valley, and then through two defiles flanked by tall rock pinnacles, the Défilé de l'Inzecca and the Défilé des Strettes, to Ghisoni.
Ghisoni et Zonza
On the Corsica driving tour, after passing Ghisoni D69 continues south over the Col de Verde (1,283 m/4,210ft) to Zicavo, from which Mont l'Incudine (2,136 m/7,008ft; 6 hrs) can be climbed. It then runs through beautiful mountain scenery over the Col de la Vaccia (1,188 m/3,898ft) to Aullène.From here the direct road to Zonza is D420; but there is an attractive alternative route by way of the little town of Ste- Lucie-de-Tallano (alt. 450 m/1,475ft), picturesquely situated on a hill.
Col de Bavella
From Zonza a very rewarding excursion can be made to the Col de Bavella.The road runs northeast through fine scenery (remains of a Roman road) to the pass (1,243 m/4,078ft), from which there are breathtaking views of the extensive forests and fertile plains, the sea to the east and the mountains to the north and west.
Porto Vecchio, France
The Corsican driving route continues by way of L'Ospedale to Porto-Vecchio (pop. 10,310), a port established by the Genoese and now a center of the cork trades, situated in the beautiful bay of the same name. It still preserves part of its circuit of walls and an 18th century Genoese citadel. Round the town are beautiful sandy beaches.
On the Corsica driving tour, from Porto-Vecchio the road runs down the east coast to Bonifacio (pop. 2,658), a little fortified town said to have been founded in the ninth century by Bonifazio, Marquis of Tuscany. It is picturesquely situated on a 1.5km/ 1mi long limestone promontory, 64 m/210ft high, which is separated from the Italian island of Sardinia only by the 11.5km/7mi wide Strait of Bonifacio. Bonifacio is a town of medieval lanes flanked by old houses. The former cathedral of Ste-Marie-Majeure (12th-13th century, with later alterations), with a plain undecorated porch, contains a fine marble tabernacle (15th century). The Gothic church of St-Dominique (13th-14th century) has a 15th century tower and contains interesting groups of carved wooden figures which are carried in processions.
On the Corsica driving tour, from Bonifacio N196 runs northwest to Sartène. 32km/20mi from Bonifacio is the curious natural feature known as the Lion of Roccapina, a small rocky promontory which has been bizarrely carved by erosion into the form of a crouching lion. Sartène (pop. 3,410), chief place in the fertile Sartenais district, is beautifully situated above the valley of the Rizzanèse. The medieval old town is entered through the arched gateway of the town hall.
On the Corsica driving tour, after passing Bonifacio, the route continues to Propriano, in the Bay of Valinco, with a fishing and commercial harbor and a beautiful bathing beachcio.
On the Corsica driving tour, after passing Propiano, the road runs north via Olmeto to Filitosa. The prehistoric settlement of Filitosa, on a projecting crag above the Taravo valley, is a sight not to be missed, with its remains of the 3,500-year-old Torre culture (which displaced a megalithic pastoral culture around 3500 B.C.). The visible remains include groups of standing stones, the foundations of village houses and various tower-like cult buildings and fortifications.Other sites with remains of the earliest Corsican culture are Cauria and Fontanaccia, which lie between Bonifacio and Sartène, to the east of N196. The coast road now runs round the Gulf of Ajaccio.