1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers
> 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes
(e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Ajaccio (French: [aʒaksjo] ( listen);
Italian: [aˈjattʃo]; Latin: Adiacium; Corsican: Aiacciu
[aˈjattʃu]) is a French commune, prefecture of the department of
Corse-du-Sud, and head office of the Collectivité territoriale de
Corse (capital city of Corsica). It is also the largest settlement on
Ajaccio is located on the west coast of the island of
Corsica, 210 nautical miles (390 km) southeast of Marseille.
The original city went into decline in the Middle Ages, but began to
prosper again after the Genoese built a citadel in 1492 to the south
of the earlier settlement. After the
Corsican Republic was declared in
1755 the Genoese continued to hold several citadels, including
Ajaccio, until the French took control of the island.
The inhabitants of the commune are known as Ajacciens or
Ajacciennes. The most famous of these is
Napoleon Bonaparte who was
Ajaccio in 1769, and whose ancestral home, the Maison
Bonaparte, is now a museum. Other dedications to him in the city
Napoleon Bonaparte Airport.
2.2 Archaeological evidence
2.3 The medieval Genoese period
2.4 The attachment to France
2.6 19th and 20th centuries
2.7 Contemporary history
4.1 Road access
4.2 Communal bus services
9 Culture and heritage
9.1 Civil heritage
10 Religious heritage
11 Environmental heritage
13 Films made in Ajaccio
15 Notable people linked to the commune
18 See also
19 Notes and references
20 External links
Ajaccio is located on the west coast of the island of Corsica, 210
nautical miles (390 km) southeast of Marseille. The commune
occupies a sheltered position at the foot of wooded hills on the
northern shore of the Gulf of Ajaccio between
Gravona and the
pointe de la Parata and includes the îles Sanguinaires (Bloody
Islands). The harbour lies to the east of the original citadel below a
hill overlooking a peninsula which protects the harbour in the south
where the Quai de la Citadelle and the Jettée de la Citadelle are.
The modern city not only encloses the entire harbour but takes up the
better part of the Gulf of
Ajaccio and in suburban form extends for
some miles up the valley of the
Gravona River. The flow from that
river is nearly entirely consumed as the city's water supply. Many
beaches and coves border its territory and the terrain is particularly
rugged in the west where the highest point is 790 m
The lighthouse of the citadel of
Ajaccio overlooking the bay
Neighbouring communes and towns
Although the commune of
Ajaccio has a large area (82.03 km2),
only a small portion of this is urbanized. Therefore, the urban area
Ajaccio is located in the east of the commune on a narrow coastal
strip forming a densely populated arc. The rest of the territory is
natural with habitation of little importance and spread thinly.
Suburbanization occurs north and east of the main urban area.
The original urban core, close to the old marshy plain of
abandoned in favour of the current city which was built near the Punta
della Lechia. It has undergone various improvements, particularly
under Napoleon, who originated the two current major structural
arteries (the Cours
Napoleon oriented north-south and the Cours
Grandval oriented east-west).
Ajaccio experienced a demographic boom in the 1960s, which explains
why 85% of dwellings are post-1949. This is reflected in the layout
of the city which is marked by very large areas of low-rise buildings
and concrete towers, especially on the heights (Jardins de l'Empereur)
and in the north of the city - e.g. the waterfront, Les Cannes, and
Les Salines. A dichotomy appears in the landscape between the old city
and the imposing modern buildings.
Ajaccio gives the image of a city
built on two different levels.
The city has a
Mediterranean climate which is Csa in the Köppen
climate classification. The average annual sunshine is 2726 hours.
There are important local climatic variations, especially with wind
exposure and total precipitation, between the city centre, the
airport, and the îles Sanguinaires. The annual average rainfall is
645.6 mm (25.4 in) at the Campo dell'Oro weather station (as
per the chart) and 523.9 mm (20.6 in) at the Parata: the
third-driest place in metropolitan France. The heat and dryness of
summer are somewhat tempered by the proximity of the Mediterranean Sea
except when the sirocco is blowing. In autumn and spring, heavy
rain-storm episodes may occur. Winters are mild and snow is rare.
Ajaccio is the French city which holds the record for the number of
thunderstorms in the reference period 1971-2000 with an average of 39
thunderstorm days per year.
On 14 September 2009, the city was hit by a tornado with an intensity
of F1 on the Fujita scale. There was little damage except torn
billboards, flying tiles, overturned cars, and broken windows but no
Comparison of local Meteorological data with other cities in France
Weather Data for Ajaccio
Climate data for Ajaccio, Altitude 4m, from 1981 to 2010
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average snowy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Meteo France
Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity and snowy days, 1961–1990)
In 1575, the Senate of Genoa granted to the city of
Ajaccio Arms of
blue with a silver column sumounted by the Arms of Genoa between two
white greyhounds. This is not the current Arms.
Supported by two golden lions, a silver column stands on a green base
beneath an azure sky.
Several hypotheses have been advanced as to the etymology of the name
Ajaccio (Aiacciu in Corsican, Addiazzo on old documents). Among these,
the most prestigious suggests that the city was founded by the Greek
legendary hero Ajax and named after him. Other more realistic
explanations are, for example, that the name could be related to the
Tuscan agghiacciu meaning "sheep pens". Another explanation, supported
Byzantine sources from around the year 600AD called the city
Agiation which suggests a possible Greek origin for the word,
agathè could mean "good luck" or "good mooring" (this was also the
root of the name of the city of Agde).
Napoleon in the Place Foch
Ex Grand Hôtel Continental (now office of the Collectivité
territoriale de Corse)
The city was not mentioned by the Greek geographer
Alexandria in the 2nd century AD despite the presence of a place
called Ourkinion in the Cinarca area. It is likely that the city of
Ajaccio had its first development at this time. The 2nd century was a
period of prosperity in the Mediterranean basin (the Pax Romana) and
there was a need for a proper port at the head of the several valleys
that lead to the Gulf able to accommodate large ships. Some important
underwater archaeological discoveries recently made of Roman ships
tend to confirm this.
Further excavations conducted recently led to the discovery of
important early Christian remains likely to significantly a
reevaluation upwards of the size of
Ajaccio city in
Late Antiquity and
the beginning of the Middle Ages. The city was in any case already
significant enough to be the seat of a diocese, mentioned by Pope
Gregory the Great in 591. The city was then further north than the
location chosen later by the Genoese - in the location of the existing
quarters of Castel Vecchio and Sainte-Lucie.
The earliest certain written record of a settlement at
Ajaccio with a
name ancestral to its name was the exhortation in Epistle 77 written
in 601AD by
Gregory the great
Gregory the great to the Defensor Boniface, one of two
known rectors of the early Corsican church, to tell him not to
Aléria and Adjacium without bishops. There is no earlier use of
the term and Adjacium is not an attested
Latin word, which probably
means that it is a Latinization of a word in some other language. The
Ravenna Cosmography of about 700 AD cites Agiation, which
sometimes is taken as evidence of a prior Greek city, as -ion appears
to be a Greek ending. There is, however, no evidence at all of a Greek
presence on the west coast and the
Aléria on the east
coast had been expelled by the Etruscans long before Roman
Ptolemy, who must come the closest to representing indigenous names,
lists the Lochra River just south of a feature he calls the "sandy
shore" on the southwest coast. If the shore is the Campo dell'Oro
(Place of Gold) the Lochra would seem to be the combined mouth of the
Gravona and Prunelli Rivers, neither one of which sounds like Lochra.
North of there was a Roman city, Ourchinion. The western coastline was
so distorted, however, that it is impossible to say where Adjacium
was; certainly, he would have known its name and location if he had
had any first-hand knowledge of the island and if in fact it was
there. Ptolemy's Ourchinion is further north than
Ajaccio and does not
have the same name. It could be Sagone. The lack of correspondence
between Ptolemaic and historical names known to be ancient has no
defense except in the case of the two Roman colonies, Aleria and
Mariana. In any case the population of the region must belong to
Ptolemy's Tarabeni or Titiani people, neither of which are ever heard
about again.
The population of the city throughout the centuries maintained an oral
tradition that it had originally been Roman.[citation
needed]Travellers of the 19th century could point to the Hill of San
Giovanni on the northwest shore of the Gulf of Ajaccio, which still
had a cathedral said to have been the 6th-century seat of the Bishop
of Ajaccio. The Castello Vecchio ("old castle"), a ruined citadel, was
believed to be Roman but turned out to have Gothic features. The hill
was planted with vines. The farmers kept turning up artifacts and
terracotta funerary urns that seemed to be Roman.
In the 20th century the hill was covered over with buildings and
became a part of downtown Ajaccio. In 2005 construction plans for a
lot on the hill offered the opportunity to the Institut national de
recherches archéologiques preventatives (Inrap) to excavate. They
found the baptistry of a 6th-century cathedral and large amounts of
pottery dated to the 6th and 7th centuries AD; in other words, an
early Christian town. A cemetery had been placed over the old church.
In it was a single Roman grave covered over with roof tiles bearing
short indecipherable inscriptions. The finds of the previous century
had included Roman coins. This is the only evidence so far of a Roman
city continuous with the early Christian one.
The medieval Genoese period
It has been established that after the 8th century the city, like most
other Corsican coastal communities, strongly declined and disappeared
almost completely. Nevertheless, a castle and a cathedral were still
in place in 1492 which last was not demolished until 1748.[citation
Towards the end of the 15th century, the Genoese were eager to assert
their dominance in the south of the island and decided to rebuild the
city of Ajaccio. Several sites were considered: the Pointe de la
Parata (not chosen because it was too exposed to the wind), the
ancient city (finally considered unsafe because of the proximity of
the salt ponds), and finally the Punta della Lechia which was finally
Work began on the town on 21 April 1492 south of the Christian village
Bank of Saint George
Bank of Saint George at Genoa, who sent Cristoforo of Gandini,
an architect, to build it. He began with a castle on Capo di Bolo,
around which he constructed residences for several hundred people.
The new city was essentially a colony of Genoa. The Corsicans were
restricted from the city for some years.
Nevertheless, the town grew rapidly and became the administrative
capital of the province of Au Delà Des Monts (more or less the
Bastia remained the capital of the entire
Although at first populated exclusively by the Genoese, the city
slowly opened to the Corsicans while the Ajaccians, almost to the
French conquest, were legally citizens of the
Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa and
were happy to distinguish themselves from the insular paesani who
lived mainly in Borgu, a suburb outside the city walls (the current
rue Fesch was the main street).
The attachment to France
Ajaccio was occupied from 1553 to 1559 by the French but it again fell
to the Genoese after the Treaty of Cateau Cambresis in the latter
Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa was strong enough to keep Corsica
until 1755, the year
Pasquale Paoli proclaimed the Corsican Republic.
Paoli took most of the island for the republic but he was unable to
force Genoese troops out of the citadels of Saint-Florent, Calvi,
Bastia and Algajola. Leaving them there, he went on to build
the nation, while the
Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa was left to ponder prospects
and solutions. Their ultimate solution was to sell
Corsica to France
in 1768 and French troops of the
Ancien Régime replaced Genoese ones
in the citadels, including Ajaccio's.
Corsica was formally annexed to
France in 1780.
Napoleon Bonaparte (born as Nabulione Buonaparte) was born at Ajaccio
in the same year as the Battle of Ponte Novu, 1769. The Bonapartes at
the time had a modest four-story home in town (now a museum known as
Maison Bonaparte) and a rarely used country home in the hills north of
the city (now site of the Arboretum des Milelli). The father of the
family, attorney Charles-Marie Buonaparte, was secretary to Pasquale
Paoli during the Corsican Republic.
Ajaccio, Place De Gaulle - monument Napoléon
After the defeat of Paoli, the Comte de Marbeuf began to meet with
some leading Corsicans to outline the shape of the future and enlist
their assistance. The Comte was among a delegation from
1769, offered his loyalty and was appointed assessor.
Marbeuf also offered Charles-Marie Buonaparte an appointment for one
of his sons to the Military College of Brienne, but the child had to
be under 10. There is a dispute concerning Napoleon's age because of
this requirement; the emperor is known to have altered the civic
Ajaccio concerning himself and it is possible that he was
born in Corte in 1768 when his father was there on business. In any
Napoleon went to Brienne from 1779–1784.
Napoleon concentrated on studies. He wrote a boyish history
of Corsica. He did not share his father's views but held Pasquale
Paoli in high esteem and was at heart a Corsican nationalist. The top
students were encouraged to go into the artillery. After graduation
and a brief sojourn at the Military School of
for a second-lieutenancy in the artillery regiment of La Fère at
Valence and after a time was given the position. Meanwhile, his father
died and his mother was cast into poverty in Corsica, still having
four children to support. Her only income was Napoleon's meagre
The regiment was in
Auxonne when the revolution broke out in the
summer of 1789.
Napoleon returned on leave to
Ajaccio in October,
became a Jacobin and began to work for the revolution. The National
France and pardoned its exiles.
Paoli returned in 1790 after 21 years and kissed the soil on which he
stood. He and
Napoleon met and toured the battlefield of Paoli's
defeat. A national assembly at Orezza created the department of
Corsica and Paoli was subsequently elected president. He commanded the
national guard raised by Napoleon. After a brief return to his
Napoleon was promoted to
First Lieutenant and came home again
on leave in 1791. The death of a rich uncle relieved the family's
View of the citadel of Ajaccio
All officers were recalled from leave in 1792, intervention threatened
and war with Austria (Marie-Antoinette's homeland) began. Napoleon
Paris for review, was exonerated, then promoted to Captain
and given leave to escort his sister, a schoolgirl, back to
state expense. His family was prospering; his estate increased.
Napoleon became a
Lieutenant-Colonel in the Corsican National Guard.
Paoli sent him off on an expedition to Sardinia, ordered by France,
under Paolis's nephew but the nephew had secret orders from Paoli to
make sure the expedition failed. Paoli was now a conservative,
opposing the execution of the king and supporting an alliance with
Great Britain. Returning from
Napoleon with his family and
all his supporters were instrumental in getting Paoli denounced at the
National Convention in
Paris in 1793.
Napoleon earned the hatred of
the Paolists by pretending to support Paoli and then turning against
him (payment, one supposes, for Sardinia).
Paoli was convicted in absentia, a warrant was issued for his arrest
(which could not be served) and
Napoleon was dispatched to
Inspector General of Artillery to take the citadel of
Ajaccio from the
royalists who had held it since 1789. The Paolists combining with the
royalists defeated the French in two pitched battles and
his family went on the run, hiding by day, while the Paolists burned
Napoleon and his mother, Laetitia, were taken out by
ship in June 1793, by friends while two of the girls found refuge with
other friends. They landed in
Toulon with only Napoleon's pay for
Death mask Napoleon
The Bonapartes moved to
Marseille but in August
Toulon offered itself
to the British and received the protection of a fleet under Admiral
Hood. The Siege of
Toulon began in September under revolutionary
officers mainly untrained in the art of war.
Napoleon happened to
present socially one evening and during a casual conversation over a
misplaced 24-pounder explained the value of artillery. Taken seriously
he was allowed to bring up over 100 guns from coastal emplacements but
his plan for the taking of
Toulon was set aside as one incompetent
officer superseded another. By December they decided to try his plan
and made him a Colonel. Placing the guns at close range he used them
to keep the British fleet away while he battered down the walls of
Toulon. As soon as the
Committee of Public Safety
Committee of Public Safety heard of the victory
Napoleon became a Brigadier General, the start of his meteoric rise to
The Bonapartes were back in
Ajaccio in 1797 under the protection of
General Napoleon. Soon after
Napoleon became First Consul and then
emperor, using his office to spread revolution throughout Europe. In
1811 he made
Ajaccio the capital of the new Department of Corsica.
Despite his subsequent defeat by the Prussians, Russians, and British,
his exile and his death, no victorious power reversed that decision or
tried to remove
Corsica from France. Among the natives, though
Corsican nationalism is strong, and feeling often runs high in favour
of a union with Italy; loyalty to France, however, as evidenced by
elections, remains stronger.
19th and 20th centuries
In the 19th century
Ajaccio became a popular winter resort of the high
society of the time, especially for the English, in the same way as
Monaco, Cannes, and Nice. An
Anglican Church was even built.
The first prison in
France for children was built in
Ajaccio in 1855:
the Horticultural colony of Saint Anthony. It was a correctional
colony for juvenile delinquents (from 8 to 20 years old), established
under Article 10 of the Act of 5 August 1850. Nearly 1,200 children
from all over
France stayed there until 1866, when it was closed.
Sixty percent of them perished, the victims of poor sanitation and
malaria which infested the unhealthy areas that they were responsible
Main article: Italian occupation of Corsica
Ajaccio: the first French town liberated
On 9 September 1943, the people of
Ajaccio rose up against the Nazi
occupiers and became the first French town to be liberated from
the domination of the Germans. General
Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle went to
Ajaccio on 8 October 1943 and said: "We owe it to the field of battle
the lesson of the page of history that was written in French Corsica.
Corsica to her fortune and honour is the first morsel of
France to be
liberated; which was done intentionally and willingly, in the light of
its liberation, this demonstrates that these are the intentions and
the will of the whole nation."
Throughout this period, no Jew was executed or deported from Corsica
through the protection afforded by its people and its government. This
event now allows
Corsica to aspire to the title "righteous among the
nations", as no region except for the commune
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in
Haute-Loire carries this title. Their case is being investigated as of
Since the middle of the 20th century,
Ajaccio has seen significant
development. The city has seen population growth and considerable
urban sprawl. Today
Ajaccio is the capital of
Corsica and the main
town of the island and seeks to establish itself as a true regional
View of the old city of Ajaccio
The Palace of congress of Ajaccio
The city is, with Bastia, the economic, commercial and administrative
centre of Corsica. Its urban area of nearly 90,000 inhabitants is
spread over a large part of the Corse-du-Sud, on either side of the
Ajaccio and up the valley of the Gravona. Its business is
primarily oriented towards the services sector.
The services sector is by far the main source of employment in the
Ajaccio is an administrative centre comprising communal,
intercommunal, departmental, regional, and prefectural services.
It is also a shopping centre with the commercial streets of the city
centre and the areas of peripheral activities such as that of Mezzavia
(hypermarket Géant Casino) and along the ring road (hypermarket
Carrefour and E. Leclerc).
Tourism is one of the most vital aspects of the economy, split between
the seaside tourism of summer, cultural tourism, and fishing. A number
of hotels, varying from one star to five star, are present across the
Ajaccio is the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ajaccio
Corsica South. It manages the ports of Ajaccio, Bonifacio,
Propriano and the
Tino Rossi marina. It also manages
Ajaccio airport and
Figari airport as well as the convention
centre and the Centre of Ricanto.
Secondary industry is underdeveloped, apart from the aeronautical
Corsica Aerospace Composites CCA, the largest company on the
island with 135 employees at two sites. The storage sites of GDF
Suez (formerly Gaz de France) and Antargaz in the district of Vazzio
are classified as high risk.
The Centrale EDF du Vazzio, a heavy oil power station, provides the
south of the island with electricity. The
Gravona Canal delivers water
for consumption by the city.
Rue du Cardinal Fesch
By road, the city is accessible from National Route NR194 from Bastia
and NR193 via NR196 from Bonifacio.
These two main axes, as well as the roads leading to suburban
Ajaccio from the north - the site of
a dead end blocked by the sea to the south. Only the Cours Napoleon
and the Boulevard du Roi Jerome cross the city.
Along with the high urban density, this explains the major traffic and
parking problems especially during peak hours and during the summer
tourist season. A bypass through several neighbourhoods is nearing
Communal bus services
The Transports en commun d'
Ajaccio (TCA) provide services on 21 urban
routes, one "city" route for local links and 20 suburban lines. The
frequency varies according to demand with intervals of 30 minutes for
the most important routes:
A park and ride with 300 spaces was built at Mezzana in the
neighbouring commune of
Sarrola-Carcopino in order to promote
intermodality between cars and public transport. It was
inaugurated on 12 July 2010.
In addition, the municipality has introduced a Tramway between Mezzana
station in the suburbs and
Ajaccio station located in the centre.
The city is served by an
Napoleon Bonaparte Airport which is
the headquarters of Air Corsica, a Corsican airline. It connects
Ajaccio to a number of cities in mainland
France (including Paris,
Marseille, Nice, and Brive) and to places in Europe to serve the
CCM Airlines also has its head office on the grounds of
View of the Port
The port of
Ajaccio is connected to the French mainland on an almost
daily basis (Marseille, Toulon, Nice). There are also occasional links
to the Italian mainland (Livorno) and to Sardinia, as well as a
seasonal service serving Calvi and Propriano. The two major
shipping companies providing these links are
Ajaccio has also become a stopover for cruises with a total of 418,086
passengers in 2007—by far the largest in
Corsica and the
France (after Marseille, but ahead of
Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cannes). The goal is for
eventually become the premier French port for cruises as well as being
a main departure point.
The Fishing Port
The Port function of the city is also served by the commercial,
pleasure craft, and artisanal fisheries (3 ports).
The railway station in
Ajaccio belongs to Chemins de Fer de la Corse
and is located near the port at the Square Pierre Griffi. It connects
Ajaccio to Corte,
Bastia (3h 25min) and Calvi.
There are two optional stops:
Salines Halt north of the city in the district of the same name
Campo dell'Oro Halt near the airport
Ajaccio was successively:
Capital of the district of the department of
Corsica in 1790 to 1793
Capital of the department of
Liamone from 1793 to 1811
Capital of the department of
Corsica from 1811 to 1975
Capital of the region and the collectivité territoriale de Corse
since 1970 and the department of
Corse-du-Sud since 1976
Ajaccio remained (with some interruptions) an electoral stronghold of
the Bonapartist (CCB) party until the municipal elections of 2001. The
outgoing municipality was then beaten by a left-wing coalition led by
Simon Renucci which gathered Social Democrats, Communists, and Charles
Napoleon - the pretender to the imperial throne.
List of Successive Mayors of Ajaccio
Mayors from the French Revolution to 1935
Jean Jèrome Levie
François Marie Levie
J. B. Pozzo di Borgo
Jean Jèrome Levie
Jean Noël Martinenghi
Adorno de Baciocchi
J. B. Colonna de Bozzi
J. B. Spotorno
Paul François Peraldi
François Xavier Braccini
F. X. Forcioli Conti
Dominique Pugliesi Conti
Joseph Marie François Spoturno
Mayors from 1935
Nicéphore Stephanopoli de Commene
Charles Napoléon Ornano
(Not all data is known)
10 Quarters are recognized by the municipality.
Cannes-Binda: a popular area north of the city, consisting of Housing
estates, classed as a
Sensitive urban zone (ZUS) with Les Salines,
subject to a policy of urban renewal
Centre Ville: The tourist heart of the city consisting of shopping
streets and major thoroughfares
Casone: a bourgeois neighbourhood with an affluent population located
in the former winter resort on the heights of the southern city.
Jardins del'Empereur: a city classified as a Sensitive urban zone
(ZUS) on the heights of the city, consisting of Housing estates
overlooking the city
Mezzavia: northern quarter of the town with several subdivisions and
areas of business and economic activities
Octroi-Sainte Lucie: constitutes the northern part of the city centre
near the port and the railway station
Pietralba: popular quarter northeast of the city, classified ZUS
Résidence des Îles: quarter to the south of the city near the
tourist route of Sanguinaires in a quality environment
Saint-Jean: collection of buildings for a population with low incomes,
close to the historic urban core of the city, classified as a
Sensitive urban zone (ZUS)
Saline: popular quarter north of the city, consisting of large
apartment blocks, classed as a
Sensitive urban zone (ZUS) with Les
Cannes, subject to a policy of urban renewal
Vazzio: quarter northeast of the city, near the airport, the EDF
Central, and the Francois Coty stadium.
Since December 2001,
Ajaccio has been part of the Communauté
d'agglomération du Pays Ajaccien with nine other communes: Afa,
Alata, Appietto, Cuttoli-Corticchiato, Peri, Sarrola-Carcopino,
Tavaco, Valle-di-Mezzana, and Villanova.
The geopolitical arrangements of the commune are slightly different
from those typical of
Corsica and France. Usually an arrondissement
includes cantons and a canton includes one to several communes
including the chef-lieu, "chief place", from which the canton takes
its name. The city of
Ajaccio is one commune, but it contains four
cantons, Cantons 1–4, and a fraction of Canton 5. The latter
contains three other communes: Bastelicaccia, Alata and Villanova,
making a total of four communes for the five cantons of Ajaccio.
Each canton contains a certain number of quartiers, "quarters".
Cantons 1, 2, 3, 4 are located along the Gulf of
Ajaccio from west to
east, while 5 is a little further up the valleys of the
the Prunelli Rivers. These political divisions subdivide the
Ajaccio into units that can be more democratically
served but they do not give a true picture of the size of Ajaccio. In
general language, "greater Ajaccio" includes about 100,000 people with
all the medical, educational, utility and transportational facilities
of a big city. Up until World War II it was still possible to regard
the city as being a settlement of narrow streets localized to a part
of the harbour or the Gulf of Ajaccio: such bucolic descriptions do
not fit the city of today, and travellogues intended for mountain or
coastal recreational areas do not generally apply to Corsica's few big
The arrondissement contains other cantons that extend generally up the
two rivers into central Corsica.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in France
Ajaccio has twinning associations with:
Jena, Germany, since 2003
Larnaca, Cyprus, since 1989
Palma de Mallorca, Spain, since 1980
Dana Point, California, United States, since 1990
La Maddalena, Italy, since 1991
Marrakech, Morocco, since 2005
The demographic development of
Ajaccio occurred mainly between 1945
and 1975 with a doubling of the population of the city in that period.
This is explicable in the 1950s by the rural exodus. From the 1960s,
the city saw the coming of "Pied-Noirs" (French Algerians) including
immigrants from the
Maghreb and French from mainland France.
In 2010, the commune had 65,542 inhabitants. The evolution of the
number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses
conducted in the town since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of
municipalities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five
years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[Note
Population change (See database)
Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968
(population without double counting and municipal population from
Population of Ajaccio
Ajaccio has three hospital sites:
the Misericordia Hospital, built in 1950, is located on the heights of
the city centre. This is the main medical facility in the region.
The Annex Eugenie.
Psychiatric Hospital of Castelluccio is 5 kilometres (3 miles)
west of the city centre and is also home of cancer services and
Ajaccio is the headquarters of the Academy of Corsica.
The city of
18 nursery schools (16 public and 2 private)
17 primary schools (15 public and 2 private)
5 Public Schools:
Collège des Padule
Collège Laetitia Bonaparte
1 Private School: Institution Saint Paul
3 sixth-form colleges/senior high schools
2 public schools:
Lycée Laetitia Bonaparte
1 private: Institution Saint Paul
2 LEP (vocational high schools)
Lycée Jules Antonini
Higher education is undeveloped except for a few BTS and IFSI, the
Corsica Pascal Paoli is located in Corte. A research
facility of INRA is also located on Ajaccio.
Culture and heritage
Ajaccio has a varied tourism potential, with both a cultural framework
in the centre of the city and a natural heritage around the coves and
beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Natura 2000 reserve
of the îles Sanguinaires.
The Bonaparte House
The commune has many buildings and structures that are registered as
The Monument to General Abbatucci in the Place Abbatucci (1854)
The Monument to
Napoleon I in the Place d'Austerlitz (20th
The Baciocchi Family Mansion at 9 Rue Bonaparte (18th century)
The Fesch Palace at 48 bis Rue Cardinal-Fesch (1827)
The Monument to the First Consul in the Place Foch (1850)
The Peraldi House at 18 Rue Forcioli-Conti (1820)
The Grand Hotel at Cours Grandval (1869)
The old Château Conti at Cours Grandval (19th century)
The Monument to
Napoleon and his brothers in the Place du General de
The Monument to
Cardinal Fesch at the Cour du
Musée Fesch (1856)
The old Alban Factory at 89 Cours
The Milelli House in the Saint-Antoine Quarter (17th century)
The Hotel Palace-Cyrnos (1880), an old Luxury Hotel from the 19th
century and a famous palace of the old days in the quarter "for
foreigners" now converted into housing.
The Lantivy Palace (1837), an Italian palace now headquarters of
the prefecture of Corsica.
The Hotel de Ville (1836)
Napoleon Bonaparte's House (17th century) now a national museum:
the Maison Bonaparte
Lazaretto of Aspretto (1843)
The Sawmill at Les Salines (1944)
Lighthouse on the Sanguinaires Islands (1844)
Other sites of interest
The Monument in the Place du Casone
The old town and the Borgu are typically Mediterranean with their
narrow streets and picturesque buildings
The Place Bonaparte, a quarter frequented chiefly by winter visitors
attracted by the mild climate of the town.
Musée Fesch houses a large collection of Italian Renaissance
The Bandera Museum, a History Museum of Mediterranean Corsica
The Municipal library has many early printed books of the 15th and
The area known as "for foreigners" has a number of old palaces,
villas, and buildings once built for the wintering British in the
Belle Époque such as the
Anglican Church and the Grand Hotel
Continental. Some of the buildings are unfortunately in bad condition
and very degraded, others were destroyed for the construction of
modern buildings. The area still retains a beautiful architecture and
is very pleasant to visit.
The Genoese towers: Torra di Capu di Fenu, Torra di a Parata, and
Torra di Castelluchju
Torra di Castelluchju in the Îles Sanguinaires archipelago
The Square Pierre Griffi (in front of the railway station), hero of
the Corsican Resistance, one of the members of the Pearl Harbour
secret mission, the first operation launched in occupied Corsica
to coordinate resistance.
The Statue of Commandant Jean L'Herminier (in front of the ferry
terminal), commander of the
French submarine Casabianca (Q183)
French submarine Casabianca (Q183) which
actively participated in the struggle for the liberation of
Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption
The town is the seat of a bishopric dating at least from the 7th
century. It has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, training
colleges, a communal college, a museum and a library; the three latter
are established in the Palais Fesch, founded by Cardinal Fesch, who
was born at
Ajaccio in 1763.
The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are
registered as historical monuments:
The former Episcopal Palace at 24 Rue Bonaparte (1622)
The Oratory of Saint Roch at Rue Cardinal-Fesch (1599)
The Chapel of Saint Erasme or Sant'Erasmu at 22 Rue Forcioli-Conti
The Oratory of Saint John the Baptist at Rue du Roi-de-Dome (1565)
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta at Rue Saint-Charles (1582)
Renaissance which depended on the diocese of
Napoleon was baptized with its organ from Cavaillé-Coll.
The Chapel of the Greeks on the Route des Sanguiunaires (1619)
The Early Christian Baptistery of Saint John (6th century)
The Imperial Chapel (1857) houses the graves of Napoleon's parents
and his brothers and sisters.
Church of Saint-Roch, on the Cours Napoléon
Other religious sites of interest
The Church of Saint Roch,
Neoclassical architecture by Ajaccien
project architect Barthélémy Maglioli (1885)
The Route des Sanguinaires runs along the southern coast of the city
after the Saint François Beach. It is lined with villas and coves and
beaches. Along the road is the
Ajaccio cemetery with the grave of
Corsican singer Tino Rossi.
At the mouth of the Route des Sanguinaires is the Pointe de la Parata
near the archipelago and the lighthouse.
The Saint François Beach
Gulf of Ajaccio
The iles sanguinaires and views of la Parata from the sentier des
Along the sentier des crêtes: Skull Rock
The Sentier des Crêtes (Crest Trail) starts from the city centre and
is an easy hike offering splendid views of the Gulf of Ajaccio. The
shores of the Gulf are dotted with a multitude of small coves and
beaches ideal for swimming and scuba diving.
Many small paths traversing the maquis (high ground covered in thick
vegetation) in the commune from which the Maquis resistance network
The city has two marinas and a casino.
The main activities are concentrated in the city centre on the Route
des Sanguinaires (cinemas, bars, clubs etc.).
Films made in Ajaccio
Napoléon, one of the last successful French silent films by Abel
Gance in 1927.
Les Radonneurs, a French film directed by
Philippe Harel in 1997.
Les Sanguinaires, a film by
Laurent Cantet in 1998.
The Amazing Race, an American TV series by
Elise Doganieri and Bert
Van Munster in 2001 (season 6 episode 9).
L'Enquête Corse, directed by
Alain Berberian in 2004.
Trois petites filles, a French film directed by Jean-Loup Hubert in
Joueuse (Queen to Play), a French film directed by Caroline Bottaro in
AC Ajaccio fans at the Stade François Coty
There are various sports facilities developed throughout the city.
AC Ajaccio is a French
Ligue 2 football club who play at the Stade
François Coty (13,500 seats) in the north-east of the city
Gazélec Football Club Ajaccio, in Ligue 1, are an amateur club who
play at the
Stade Ange Casanova
Stade Ange Casanova located at Mezzavia, 2,900 seats.
Notable people linked to the commune
Many members of the
Bonaparte family were born in Ajaccio, including
Carlo Buonaparte (1746–1785), politician, father of Napoleon
Joseph Fesch (1763–1839), cardinal.
Felix Baciocchi (1762–1841), general of the armies of the Revolution
and the Empire, brother in law of the Emperor
Napoleon 1st, Grand Duke
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on 15 August 1769 and died on 5 May 1821
on the island of
Saint Helena United Kingdom, Emperor of France.
Lucien Bonaparte (1775–1840), Prince of Canino and Musignano,
Interior Minister of France.
Elisa Bonaparte (1777–1820), Grand Duchess of Tuscany.
Louis Bonaparte (1778–1846), King of Holland.
Caroline Bonaparte (1782–1839), Queen Consort of Naples and Sicily.
Jérôme Bonaparte (1784–1860), King of Westphalia.
Irène Bordoni (1895–1953), singer, Broadway theatre & film
Michel Giacometti (1929–1990),
Ethnomusicologist who worked
primarily in Portugal.
François Duprat (1941–1978), French writer.
Michel Ferracci-Porri (born 1949), French writer.
Jean-Michel Cavalli (born 1959), coach of the Algeria national
François Coty (1874-1934, industrialist and politician, he
revolutionized the perfume business
Tino Rossi (1907–1983), French singer and actor
Alizée (1984-), French singer
Units that were stationed in Ajaccio:
163rd Infantry Regiment, 1906
173rd Infantry Regiment
The Aspretto naval airbase for seaplanes 1938-1993
Early city map
Napoleon in Roman garb
Napoleon's birth house
Diocese of Ajaccio
Communes of the
Notes and references
^ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification
have been modified by law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002 
Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine., the so-called "law of
local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" which
allow, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the
annual publication of the legal population of the different French
administrative districts. For municipalities with a population greater
than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the
entire territory of these municipalities is taken into account at the
end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after
1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was
based on the census of 2006.
^ Inhabitants of
Corse-du-Sud (in French)
^ "What's in an eponym? Celebrity airports - could there be a
commercial benefit in naming?". Centre for Aviation.
^ a b c d One or more of the preceding
sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public
domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ajaccio". Encyclopædia
Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
^ The Cities of France, by Fabriès-Verfaillie et Stragiotti, 2000 (in
^ France, Meteo. "PREVISIONS METEO FRANCE - Site Officiel de
France - Prévisions gratuites à 15 jours sur la
France et à
10 jours sur le monde". www.meteofrance.com. Retrieved 31 May
^ Paris, Nice, Strasbourg, Brest
^ "Normales climatiques 1981-2010 : Ajaccio". www.lameteo.org.
Retrieved 31 May 2017.
^ "Données climatiques de la station de Ajaccio" (in French). Meteo
France. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
^ "Climat Corse". Meteo France. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
^ "Normes et records 1961-1990:
Ajaccio - Campo dell'Oro (2A) –
altitude 4m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
^ Manuscript variants are Agration and Agiagium but the use of a Greek
ending does not necessarily indicate anything at all about ethnicity.
At this late date geographers used either Greek or
Latin forms at
will. The word is no more decipherable in Greek than it is in Latin;
attempts to connect two or three letters with Indo-European roots
amount to speculation.
^ Richards, Jeffrey (1979). The Popes and the Papacy in the Early
Middle Ages, 476–752. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
p. 318. ISBN 0-7100-0098-7.
^ Anonymous of Ravenna; Guido; Gustav Parthey; Moritz Pinder (1860).
Ravennatis Anonymi Cosmographia et Guidonis Geographica. Berolini: in
aedibvs Friderici Nicolai. p. 413. (in Latin). Downloadable
^ Massimi, Pierre; Jose Tomazi (2002). "A corsica in la carta
geografica di Ptolomey" (PDF). InterRomania. Centru Culturale,
Universita di Corsica. Archived from the original (pdf) on 29 May
2008. Retrieved 18 May 2008. (in Corsican).
^ "Discovery of an Early Christian Baptistery in Ajaccio". Inrap. 9
June 2005. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 9
^ "History of the city of Ajaccio". Retrieved 16 May 2008.
^ Baring-Gould, Sabine (2006). The Life of
Napoleon Bonaparte. Adamant
Media Corporation. Chapter 1. ISBN 0-543-95815-9.
^ Cinti, Maurizio (20 April 1995). "La Maddalena, 22/25 February
1793". Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns. The Napoleon
Series. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
^ "Créer un site web gratuit - pages perso Orange". site.voila.fr.
Retrieved 31 May 2017.
^ Préfecture of Corsica: The Liberation of
Corsica Archived 24 June
2008 at the Wayback Machine. (in French)
^ Le Figaro:Corsicans want to be the island of the "Just among the
nations" (in French)
^ "French Cities" by Fabriès-Verfaillie et Stragiotti, 2000. (in
^ CCI of Ajaccio: Airport Archived 26 January 2010 at the Wayback
Machine. (in French)
^ Corses Composites Aéronautiques (in French)
^ Transport en commun d’
Ajaccio (TCA) (in French)
^ Communauté d’Agglomération of Pays Ajaccien (in French)
^ www.ca-ajaccien.fr and Archived 18 October 2013 at the Wayback
Machine. (in French)
^ "Relations Clientèle." CCM Airlines. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
^ a b c Chamber of Commerce and Industry of
Ajaccio and South Corsica
^ Weinland, Robert. "francegenweb.org - votre service benevole
d'assistance genealogique". www.francegenweb.org. Retrieved 31 May
^ Comité central bonapartiste
^ Corse social-democrate
^ Official website of the city of
Ajaccio (in French)
^ "Décret n° 2014-229 du 24 février 2014 portant délimitation des
cantons dans le département de la Corse-du-Sud". Retrieved 31 May
^ National Commission for Decentralised cooperation (in French)
^ Castelluccio - Public Establishment of Health (in French)
^ Academy of
Corsica (in French)
^ French Cities" by Fabriès-Verfaillie et Stragiotti, 2000 (in
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA2A001904 Monument to General
Abbatucci (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA2A001900 Monument to
Napoleon I (in
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099141 Baciocchi Family Mansion
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099071 Fesch Palace (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA2A001905 Monument to the First
Consul (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099067 Peraldi House (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099134 Grand Hotel (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099063 Château Conti (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA2A001903 Monument to
his brothers (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA2A001902 Monument to Cardinal Fesch
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099142 Alban Factory (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099065 Milelli House (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099135 Hotel Palace-Cyrnos (in
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099128 Lantivy Palace (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099127 Hotel de Ville (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099066
Napoleon Bonaparte's House
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099064
Lazaretto of Aspretto (in
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099062 Citadel]] (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA2A001311 Sawmill]] (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA2A001274 Lighthouse]] (in French)
^ See "Mission secrète Pearl Harbour" in the French (in
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099070 Episcopal Palace (in
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099069 Oratory of Saint Roch (in
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099061 Chapel of Saint Erasme or
Sant'Erasmu (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099068 Oratory of Saint John the
Baptist (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099058 Cathedral of Santa Maria
Assunta (in French)
Ajaccio Cathedral, Organ of the Cathedral of Cavaillé-Coll (1849) -
Cicchero (1997) (in French)
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099059 Chapel of the Greeks (in
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA2A000004 Baptistery of Saint John
^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée PA00099060 Imperial Chapel (in
^ Mingotaud, Mélanie (2009). "Dossier de presse - Joueuse" [Press
Release - Joueuse] (PDF) (in French). Retrieved 27 December
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ajaccio.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ajaccio.
Ajaccio website (in French)
The Communauté d'Agglomération du Pays Ajaccien (CAPA) website (in
Tourism Office of
Ajaccio website (in French)
Prefectures of departments of France
La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime)
Le Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire)
Le Mans (Sarthe)
La Roche-sur-Yon (Vendée)
Belfort (Territoire de Belfort)
Cayenne (French Guiana)
Prefectures of the regions of France
Orléans (Centre-Val de Loire)
Strasbourg (Grand Est)
Nantes (Pays de la Loire)
Marseille (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur)
Cayenne (French Guiana)
Communes of the
ISNI: 0000 0001 2184 5852