The Corte Arch or « l’arcu di u Sandulaghju »

The Corte Arch

The first Sunday in September at 9h00, will see the depart of the Corte arch race.  It leaves from the town and heads up into the mountains above, to the famous rock formation, known as ‘the arch.’

The race is 21km long and has 1650m positive altitude gain, the Corsican gent, Guillaume Peretti holds the record time for the race, which is 2h06.

This annual event is very symbolic, it starts from Corte citadel, the island’s historical capital and the seat where the Corsican government presided during it’s independent years from 1755 – 1769. 

There is an initial steep 1000m climb to reach the natural granite rock formation called ‘L’arcu di u Scandulaghju.’ The trail continues to the shepherd’s cabin Bergeries des Padule 1611m, then it goes up to the col, Bocca Canaghja,  at 1800m, it is the highest part of the race.  From this point, you can see a host of Corsica’s best  summits, the  Monte Cintu, the Paglia Orba, Capu Tafunatu and the San Petrone.  A lovely run down through the Melu forest leads to Rusulinu swing bridge. From here, it is a good 7kms back through the Tavignano gorge which used to be an important access route into the neighbouring Niolu valley.

Once everyone is back over the finish line, there is a well earned  meal to celebrate the event, with local specialities and a festive ambiance.   

Corte is full of historic interest, as well as, it’s rugged mountains, rock pools and sun baked rocks. A visit to the anthropology museum, or a look at the old houses of parliament is a good way of getting to the heart and soul of Corsica.

Written by Frédéric Cesari

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