What you need to know about: CALVI

Aerocorsica CalviArchaeological excavations have shown that the site was occupied from the Neolithic period (5000 – 2500BC), the principal remains were found along the coast and in the inland regions.

In the course of the IV century, barbarian invasions destroyed a small village protected by a rock, named Calvi. We have to wait until this area is under the administration of Pisa, in order for matters to be finally worked out.

In the XIII century, during a battle between the Lords arguing over the headland, the Lord of Nebbiu took refuge on the rock for protection, and this is where the first fortifications emerge after this battle.

Unfortunately, between 1245 – 1272 many blood-baths and barbaric acts follow one another – the natives of Calvi were frightened and outraged, and in 1278 they ask for protection from Genoa.

For an appropriate protection for the town, the Genoese begin the construction of the citadel. In 1420, Calvi was conquered by Alfonso V of Aragon, and the following year when he was attacked in vain at Bonifacio, the inhabitants led by a certain Pietro Baglioni rebelled with such aggressiveness, that they completely massacred the Spanish garrison. Following this battle, Pietro Baglioni earned his nickname  ‘Liberta’, and the city remained faithful to Genoa. A small parenthesis here, with regards to the history of the town; in 1436, the greatest seafarer of all times, Christopher Columbus was (supposedly) born in Calvi.

In 1453, St George’s administration took over the management of Corsica, this is when the Salt Tower was built – it was used as a warehouse and a salt tax was collected (salt was a royal monopoly, which represented 6% of the king’s income).

If the account is accurate, Calvi would have remained for more than 500 years under the influence and protection of Genoa.

In the early XVIII century, the Niolu and Balagne regions were at war; a terrible revolt broke out in 1729, and in order to protect herself, Calvi served as a rear base for the French troops.

In order to help Genoa, in 1739 France sent a certain Maillebois to fight Giacentino Paoli’s insurgents. It was then in 1755, that the ‘father of the Corsican nation’ Pasquale Paoli took command of the insurrection.
According to history, Calvi resisted two months and it was in 1794 that Admiral Nelson lost his eye, during the siege of the citadel.

At the end of the XIX century, running water was installed, and the marshes were drained – the small port was enlarged to allow cruisers and pleasure boats to arrive. The little ‘micheline’ train helped the town to become accessible, allowing the arrival of tourists in the 1920’s – and finally the airport was built in the 1950’s.

Source + photo credit: Aerocorsica
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