Corsica: The Ugly

Corsican road sign
Friends warned me about Corsica before I left home, from: “They’ll ignore you in shops if you’re not Corsican,” to the rather extreme: “The locals slash tyres of tourist cars: buy a Corsica sticker and put it near your number plate.” Worse still, when I asked my Corsican friends on arrival if I should indeed buy a sticker because I had heard…”Oh yeah,” one friend said, “about the car burnings of cars that aren’t from here. You passed one on the way.” Indeed, we had passed a burnt-out car on a construction site. “So it’s true?” I asked. “No,” the other friend said, “we’re just joking: it’s not true and it doesn’t happen.” They giggled and pushed more local products to sample in my direction. My car remained intact and I found the locals very friendly.

The car-wrecking aspect of Corsican vandalism may be an urban myth, but Corsica does have an ugly side. Pictured is one of many road signs on the island that have had the French spelling vandalised leaving only the Corsican spelling visible. This one seems to have been hit with an air gun as well. The Corsicans are proud of their heritage and perhaps still a little(?) annoyed that, despite becoming a republic in 1755 after a long struggle for independence, the island was sold by the Genoese to France in 1764. A further six years of battle went on before Corsica was finally incorporated as part of France. Apparently, some of the locals are still upset about this, so the signs get the Corsican treatment I’d heard so much about. My joking friends then got serious and told me about the arson attacks on illegally-built houses and businesses close to beach fronts, which they justified using Corsican logic (vendettas). The Good of Corsica definitely outweighs The Bad and The Ugly, but keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case.


I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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2 comments on “Corsica: The Ugly
  1. Sab says:

    Hi, I visited Corsica a few years ago and it was fine. Then after leaving I saw that two of the bustling little towns I’d been visiting had had a vendetta killing and a mairie-bombing or something like that and it did make me shudder a little, although like you say, it’s rare.

  2. Ruby says:

    hmm, might get up into the mountains quickly and stay up there. No vendettas up there are there?

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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