Cape Corsica: Home of admirable tombstones

Just like the ‘palazzi’ (mansions), the great noble houses, the monumental  tombstones are very much part of the architectural heritage of Cape Corsica. They were built between the late 17th and early 18th century, near hamlets and facing the sea. These were of course, external signs of wealth and the expression of a powerful link between the living and the dead. Along the road in all the villages of Cape Corsica, and always well in sight, impressive sepulchres are erected. Built by emigrants from this part of the island, or by the families of notables, these ‘mansions of the dead’ combine tombs and altars for celebrations, thus producing authentic funerary chapels.

The interior is often decorated with sculptures, paintings, candlesticks and precious monstrances. The exterior can be luxurious with walls, gates, stairs and gardens with palm or cypress trees. These constructions are reminiscent of those of the great Florentine or Roman lineages. The families from the island come to gather there at least once a year, on All Saints’ Day.  Some of the most beautiful edifices can be found in Sisco (Battistini tombstone) and Cagnano (Biaggi) – but it is in Barrettali, at the Minerviu and Cunchigliu hamlets, that the families competed in the size and choice of the location, facing the sea – the importance of this is particularly visible in Pino, where the Bartolomei tombstone is shaped like a boat, surmounted by carved anchors. 

Source: Photo: Michel Roux ©

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