Of Mountains and Men: How Corsica’s Landscape Shaped its History

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The Tavignanu Valley in Corsica’s central mountains

Corsica’s terrain is a feature that has had a significant influence on its history and culture. The island is one big mountain range that rises 2,706 metres from the sea at its highest point, Monte Cinto. These are comparatively young, jagged mountains, not yet rounded by erosion. Continue reading

Women in Traditional Corsican Society

Corsican woman of a certain age.

Corsican woman, photo taken probably in the 1920s

Oppressed, subservient, insignificant? Does that accurately describe Corsican women in past times? Not always. That Corsica was a patriarchal society can’t be denied. But to portray the island’s women as downtrodden and overlooked is to over-simplify a complex situation.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about marriage customs. This time, I look specifically at the role of women, an important topic for my current work in progress. My research has turned up some interesting contradictions. Continue reading

Vendetta in Corsica: Myth and Reality

Olmeto - Colomba Carabelli plaque

Olmeto – Colomba Carabelli plaque

We’ve visited Corsica six times. L’Île de Beauté is a captivating place, with a savage beauty and a culture all its own and I strongly advise a visit. In 2014, we went to Olmeto, once the home of a woman who was the inspiration for Prosper Mérimée’s Colomba. His novel is about vendetta, an integral feature of Corsican history and culture. Continue reading