Vivariu, 428 Population  400 to 2390 meters 7928 hectares

Vivario - Corsica

To discover

Hiking Activities
Vivario (Vivariu in Corsican) is a commune in central Corsica serving as a natural border by the Vizzavona pass between Haute-Corse and Corse-du-Sud. The commune also encompasses the majestic Vizzavona forest, predominantly composed of laricio pines.

Historical Monuments

Fort de Pasciola

Fortin Pasciola

The Fortin de Pasciola (also spelled Pasciolo) was built in 1770 at the summit of a rocky peak at an altitude of 800 meters, under the command of General De Vaux, who was appointed governor of Corsica by Louis XVI. This was one year after the Battle of Ponte Novu. To provide context, the Republic of Genoa, indebted to the Kingdom of France, had just ceded Corsica to it under the Treaty of Versailles. After Genoese occupation, Corsica changed "owners," adding to the humiliation of a population tossed between two powers, which would rise up under the command of Pasquale Paoli. The Fort de Pasciola, like that of Vizzavona, was thus built to control strategic passage areas used by Paoli's troops, the i naziunali.

On three levels, each with an area of 200 square meters, the Fortin de Pasciola could accommodate around fifty men. It also had an underground cistern with a capacity of 90 cubic meters for water needs. It was converted into a prison for the Corsican insurgents by General Morand at the beginning of the 19th century, under the First Empire.

The Fort de Pasciola has been listed as a Historical Monument since 1977.

Fort de Vizzavona

Fort Vizzavona

The Fort de Vizzavona or Fort de Vaux - named after the French count and general Noël Jourda de Vaux - is located upstream of the Vizzavona pass, 150 meters as the crow flies from the dirt parking lot.

The fort was built in 1772 under the command of the governor of Corsica, De Vaux, on the path of the Vizzavona pass, as a strategic control point at nearly 1200 meters in altitude facing Monte d'Oro. Now in a state of ruin, the fort has been listed as a Historical Monument since August 4, 1996.

Grand Hôtel de la Forêt

Grand Hôtel de la Forêt

It is an imposing building that one would not expect to see in the middle of the forest. This former hotel, now in a state of abandoned ruin, stands among the trees, giving the place an austere and gloomy character, though it makes an ideal setting for a film.

Closed to the public for good reason, the dilapidation of the building poses too many risks to anyone who might venture there. The hotel was aptly named the Grand Hôtel de la Forêt.

Founded in 1893, the period perfectly coincides with the first English tourists who, through their visits, left their mark on southern Corsica from Ajaccio to Vivario, marking the beginnings of a tourist economy.

The building is approximately 30 meters long and 15 meters wide, with three levels containing about sixty rooms, covering an area of approximately 1350 square meters. The front facade features a terrace accessible by a double flight of stairs. Inside, although dilapidated, there are remnants of washhouses and a cistern from a time when running water did not yet exist.

Religious Monuments

Saint Pierre Aux Liens Church

Saint Pierre-aux-liens Church

The Saint Pierre aux Liens Church is located along the territorial road 20, just before exiting the village in the direction of Ajaccio. It is the parish church of the village, often featured on postcards of Vivario. It measures 35 meters in length and 17 meters in width and has a bell tower topped with a spire roof added at the beginning of the 20th century, with a clock at its base.

Notre Dame de la Forêt Chapel

Notre Dame de la Forêt Chapel

The Notre Dame de la Forêt Chapel blends into the Vizzavona forest as one ascends the road from the Vizzavona station. It was built in 1880 using the laricio pine wood from the forest, and fifty years later, under the impetus of Father Nicolaï, an appeal was launched to reconstruct it in stone, based on the plans of Father Robert, an architect who became a priest.

The new building, dated 1931 as indicated by the sign on its facade, was blessed by Mgr Jean-Marcel Rodié in 1933. It rests on a slab with small steps for access and two stone benches.

A universal message in several languages states, "May Peace reign in the world." Sources: Corse images et histoire

Notre Dame des Neiges Chapel

Notre Dame des Neiges Chapel

The Notre Dame des Neiges Chapel is a small stone building located in the Vizzavona forest, very close to the Monte d'Oro hotel. Its construction is recent, estimated to be in the last century.

It has a pointed arch opening topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary. The space is barely large enough to accommodate a stone table and the altar. On its side, a small bell serves as a bell tower.

Natural Heritage

Vizzavona Forest

Vizzavona Forest

The Vizzavona Forest extends over more than 1600 hectares in the commune of Vivario. It consists primarily of laricio pines, making up more than 60%, along with beech trees and other types of wood. It is worth noting that it was in the Vizzavona forest that Napoleon Bonaparte had laricio pines cut down to build his ships, as the wood possesses ideal characteristics due to their size and straight trunks.

The GR20 trail traverses the Vizzavona forest near Monte d'Oro.

The railway also passes through the Vizzavona forest with a stop at Tattone station, from which the archaeological trail starts.

Monte d'Oro

Monte d'Oro

Monte d'Oro - Monte d'Oru - is the peak that rises in the background of the Col de Vizzavona at an altitude of 2389 meters, often snow-covered or partially snow-covered off-season, Monte d'Oro is accessible by hiking through the Agnòne valley on a portion of the GR20 trail.

According to legend, Monte d'Oro - owes its name to a shepherd who nicknamed it this way in reference to the reflections of the sun in the torrents rushing down the rocky walls of the summit after a storm, which resembled golden glitter. Nevertheless, the mention of Monte Doro found without an apostrophe on Napoleonic cadastral maps in the early 19th century leaves some doubt about the etymological meaning of the name.

Bergerie de Vitulo

Bergeries Vitulo

The Vitulo sheepfolds are located just 300 meters west of the Vizzavona parking lot, equidistant from Fort de Vaux. Below are photos of the sheepfold under the snow.

Col de Vizzavona

A direct connection between Bastia and Ajaccio, the Col de Vizzavona is the highest point (1163 meters) of the Territorial Route 20 marking the boundary between Haute-Corse and Corse-du-Sud. The Col de Vizzavona hosts several activities including the Monte d'Oro hotel-restaurant, an adventure park, dining options, with a bustling human activity in season as a relay point for hikers, a lunch break, with a large dirt parking lot and an abundant forest ensuring a certain freshness in summer.

Snow in Vizzavona
Col Vizzavona

In winter, traffic between the two departments is subject to the whims of the weather, which can be disrupted by sudden snowfalls and the appearance of ice, with the steep slopes increasing the risk of slipping. Within minutes, the Col de Vizzavona can be forced to close, but generally, the work of snowplows allows vehicles equipped with snow tires or chains to pass (except for articulated vehicles).

Check Traffic Conditions

Located 1 hour and 40 minutes from Bastia, and 50 minutes from Ajaccio, the Col de Vizzavona can be perfectly passable when starting out, and completely blocked or even closed within less than an hour. During cold periods and unstable weather conditions, you can contact the Snow Control Center, or view live cameras on the CTC website to see the real-time traffic conditions on various roads across the island.

Generally, the sensitive period extends from October to March, but it can sometimes present surprises, such as May 16, 2019, captured in this photo of a blossoming tree in spring covered with snow in the middle of May.

Rivers and Streams

Agnone Stream

Agnone River

Possessing the characteristics of a stream or a small river depending on its location, the Agnone originates on the western slope of Monte d'Oro at over 2300 meters above sea level, carving through the rock with crystal-clear water that feeds the famous Cascade des Anglais in the Agnone Valley.

With a length of 7km exclusively within the commune of Vivario, the Agnone stream is a tributary of the Vecchio River.

Cascade des Anglais

Cascade des Anglais

This beautiful waterfall, offering a 10-meter drop, is a must-stop point for hikers, but also for a quick and easily accessible walk from the Col de Vizzavona. Learn more about the hike to the Cascade des Anglais.

The Cascade des Anglais gets its name from the very first English holidaymakers in what can be called the beginnings of tourism at the end of the 19th century.

Vecchio River

Vecchio River

The Vecchio River is an important watercourse of 24 km that originates in the commune of Vivario in the Vizzavona forest and crosses 4 other communes. The Vecchio also passes under the Eiffel Bridge straddling the communes of Vivario and Venaco.

Photos of Vivario