Le Route des Artisans: pure Balagne-y

We did plenty of research on Corsica (herehere and in our DK Guide Book) and the artisans route was something we were pretty excited to do. We love shopping in small towns off the beaten path like this seemed to present and finding keepsakes for our home.

We did a day trip from Saint Florent and it was different than expected. The disclaimer here is either this region needs a guide, or we had built up expectations that were impossible to achieve. Taking the positive view, it was the people and the scenery that turned our day from potential disappointment to an authentic local experience.

The drive over was incredible:

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Piana was said to be as if all the artisans decided to congregate here and famous for its music boxes. As a result, we thought we should beat the crowds, but the whole town didn’t open until 1030am. Whoops! Second there were maybe 6 shops in the entire town and only a few were music box makers. It was, however, a charming town with a welcoming hotel owner who poured us a free coffee while we waited and the music box shop owner who taught us about the songs. I guess we expected something like Roussillon or other Provençal towns of that ilk.

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Feliceto was the “glass town” and had two verreries which were not well marked. Beautiful location isolated in the hills though. Occhotania we drove right by with the GPS also not picking it up because the signs were non existent. Surprising for a town famous for its ochre wares.

Pleasant surprises: Sant’Antonino doesn’t get much press but was gorgeous. Perched like an eagle’s nest it was no surprise to see it on the Les Plus Beaux Villages list. We loved it there and got lucky the tour buses were in other places. Having coffee and châtaigne beignets overlooking the valley was one of our favorite moments of the trip.

We would also like to highlight the friendly folks in Belgodere. When a café owner found out we were on our honeymoon and from the US she invited us to have a glass of local rosé and biscuits gratuit! It was a sweet gesture that we won’t forget.

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