Corsica is an island and a region with special constitutional status of France in the Mediterranean Sea, southeast of mainland France and west of Italy. It is one of the least-visited of the large Mediterranean islands, but has many attractions including historical sights, incredible landscapes and - on the coast at least - a dependably warm and sunny climate for most of the year. The waters around the island offer excellent opportunities for diving and watersports, while inland the mountains draw hikers and climbers. Lastly, visitors come to appreciate Corsica's distinctive and stubbornly separatist culture.
Corsica has a turbulent history. In the medieval period it was ruled by warring Italian city-states; first Pisa, then Genoa. The island was independent from 1755 before coming under French control in 1768.
As the island was so often fought over, the main towns were heavily fortified. So they typically contain a walled citadel and old harbour, often pedestrianised, and dotted with restaurants and bars. The finest citadel is Bonifacio; arguably the most charming old harbour is Bastia. Ajaccio as the chief city has less old-world charm but has the best museums and galleries.