When I received the most recent review of U Castellu, our Corsican home, from a wonderful three generational family from Toronto with the title “Exceeded Our Expectations”, I was reminded of my first visit to this island gem in the Mediterranean. Corsica, also called “Ile de Beauté”, is a department of France yet located just 5km (3 miles) north of Sardinia, Italy.
I fell in love with Corsica in May 1988 when I spent two amazing weeks exploring this mountainous island with its dramatic rocky coasts, sparkling clean sea and beautiful hidden coves with sandy beaches that range from sparkling silver white (La Plage d’Argent in Verghia, Coti Chiavari on the Golfe d’Ajaccio) to charcoal grey (on the western coast of Cap Corse in the northeastern tip of the island.)
Before leaving the island after our first visit, we decided we had to have a home here…somewhere to share with our family and friends. A year later, we purchased a large track of land (150 meters /500 feet from the sea) in the little hamlet of Portigliolo, Coti Chiavari. We hired a local architect and builder who created a five-bedroom villa situated on the crest of the hillside. It was designed to provide spectacular panoramic views of the Golfe d’ Ajaccio and the mountains of Corsica. While we were integrally involved in its design, the result far exceeded our expectations! The unobstructed view from the terraces and garden are stunning: in the foreground is our local beach “Plage de Portigliolo” and rocky headlands of the coast; beyond the strikingly blue Golfe d’ Ajaccio are the majestic mountains that dominate the landscape of Corsica in the background. At our request, our villa was named by our Corsican builder who told us it means “little castle with a view”!
By June 1991, we were making U Castellu our Corsican home. After nearly 3 decades, my heart skips a beat every time I return, open the front door and enjoy the view through the sliding glass doors at the far end of our open plan living/dining room that opens onto the large wrap-around terrace. I am reminded why it continues to give me joy and why I want to share it with others.