The Niolo, land of shepherds

Haute-Corse_marchands_de_fromages_de_Niolo Wikimedia Commons

For centuries, the shepherds of the Niolo region, lived
away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, in their secluded valley beyond the narrow pass of the Scala di Santa Regina. One enters the Niolo through the village of Castirla. A narrow road weaves in and out of the valley, following the river Golo, which is the longest coastal river in Corsica.

The more one sinks into the Niolo, the higher the summits appear, rising on both sides of the narrow road, and the river seems to disappear into the depths of the green valley.

The rarer the vegetation becomes, the more the road carves itself in the surrounding rock, within spiky, mineral walls and where the river-bed is no more than a narrow rift; this is the Scala di Santa Regina pass.

As is often the case, the Corsicans perceive the hand of the devil, in this rocky heap of the Scala di Santa Regina. Here, it should be pointed out that the natural landscape of surprising proportions that the Island of Beauty offers, often leads to the belief of devilish suppositions.

However, according to legend, the gaping rift dug by the devil was made less difficult through the merciful intervention of the Virgin Mary, who would have disposed large stone slabs in the gorges, in order to shape a stairway: the ‘Scala’.


Source text: Contes et Légendes Corse

Photo credit: Wikipedia


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