This trail will take you through time in search of what life was like a few decades ago in this wonderful part of Corsica.
The scenery is beautiful and the course is very pleasant...
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
The paths of Erbajolo
: is at the church square: we strongly encourage you to pay it a visit before you set off. The orange markings keep you from losing your way. With your back to the church, you will see a slope on your left leading you to the first stage of the journey; the washhouse.
(1) has not been used by the villagers for a long time: long live the washing machine. Conversely, twenty years ago, children used to swim here during hot summers; It was the communal pool! One detail that will surely make you smile: washhouse belongs to the municipality but not the land on which it is located.
Then continue your way by taking the steep path sloping down to the right and you will soon be at the far end of the village. The start of the trail is right there on the right side of the road before the house, take the concrete steps.
: this part of the trail only gets the sun towards the end of the day. So it makes it fairly cool. You can see that holly is far from being an endangered species here, quite the contrary. Some of these shrubs are as big as the small oaks that line the trail. The ravine on the left behind its thick coat of brambles is the town sewer, so do not be caught off guard by the smell...
After a few meters, you will take a section of the trail used by 4x4. Continue your descent and in the next turn, leave the track to return to the trail. An orange painted panel is there to help you orient yourself once you make your choice. Please note, a little further down you will pass through the sewers: try not to put your feet in it!!! Rest assured, this is the first and last time you'll have to do it.
You are now on a pleasant section of the route. It is not too hot because the trees shelter your progress. Look ahead, here it is!!!
This is St Martin’s chapel (2), dating from the eleventh century and classed as a historical monument since 1926, may be because an Erbajolo local was working for the National Monuments committee or so say gossips.
Cross the road and take the view of this splendid building.
: Romanesque chapel that is in fairly good condition, you will see its slate roof and monumental stones, one wonders how they managed to transport them there. The key is available at the village hall, remember to ask for it if you want to enter, otherwise you will have to settle for outside. The apse, as in most churches, is turned to the east and is a good way to get your bearings and avoid getting lost in the bushes.
Above, on the roof of the left side is the bell tower, where there is no bell. Indeed, the legend says that during the barbarian invasions of the Middle Ages, the villagers hid their beautiful bronze bell. The years passed by and never again was the bell dug up. Of course, today, no one knows where it is...
You must have noticed the different graves around the chapel. Nowadays, most people are buried in the cemetery you will walk along at the end of the course. Sometimes, however, some people choose this area as their final resting place. You can see from the dates on the graves.
If you have some time, go to the right of the church. This part is not well known because the trail does not cross it. Nevertheless there are the remains of what was to be an ancient cemetery. You can, when looking around, discover ancient tombs, they are all bounded by two stones, one small and one larger, coming out of the ground and can cause you to fall if you are not careful. The large one is planted at the head of the body, and the little one at the feet. It can be concluded, after studying these graves, the people of this region were not very tall.
: you will now take the more rocky part of the trail. The stones that line the way are quite impressive. This part of the forest consists largely of oaks, there are green "leccia” oaks, and white "u quarciu” oaks. These trees are used as firewood, you can see, on your right, a "cut" with a track to exit the woods using a 4x4.
After a minute of walking, remember to turn right. You have on your left an old vineyard that was one of the last to be cultivated. The road then plunges down to the village of Casella. You cross a small stream, rest assured that this is not a sewer this time. Although no recent water analysis proves its potability. Some villagers drink it and they don’t appear to fall ill from it. It’s up to you!
You can admire the trough, carved in a kind of natural limestone deposited by the water in the stream. Where you are is lovely, thanks to the shade from the fig trees. Feel free to eat figs if there are any ripe ones, this will allow you to relax, enjoy!!!
Just after the stream, look up to see an iron cross (3). Often village entrances are adorned with crosses, probably to protect the inhabitants from supernatural dangers. You will notice that in the village of Erbajolo there are three crosses, one on each of the routes leading to it.
Once you have passed the cross, you will finally be in the village of Casella.
: the ruins of the ancient village, stand in front of you. This village burned down in 1945 and only the church was spared by the fire. Maybe divine intervention, or maybe it simply because the area around it had not been cleaned.
Further down the valley there are two ancient villages: Poggio and Cherbinaghjola. The path does not get you there, for now anyway. It is thought that the locals have climbed successively from one village to another to escape barbarian invasions, to find more suitable land for cultivation, to be closer to existing roads..., hypotheses abound.
The village of Casella has a dozen houses, with no official tracking of its population it is impossible to know exactly how many people are living there. Just a few years ago the people of Erbajolo still headed down there for St Joseph. The priest said Mass and people ate in the beautiful square in the shadow of this gigantic olive tree.
Occasionally the village youth descend again to have a good time, tradition dictates that they ring the bell by pulling the rope. However, do not do this because the church isn’t holding up very well and some stones could fall.
Once you have passed the church, you can linger over a strange engraving. Look at the first house on your left: it is one of the few Casella with a stone lintel. Most others are wooden. If you look closely, you will see a Cathar cross on the front of this lintel, facing the church. It's weird because the Cathars, according to historians, never came in Corsica. In comparison the Giovannali, a sect from the Middle Ages, were close enough to their philosophy. Maybe there is a link between Casella and Giovannali. This door pediment may also have been recovered elsewhere and brought here for reuse.
Continue your route by following the orange markings, you will arrive at "u Fornu” (the oven). Here women were baking bread and pies, it was a very friendly place where people liked to meet to chat.
Take time to visit the village; although it is in ruins it still has nice places to explore.
From the oven, you will cross the field to then head out of the village. You will cross the stream again, the water here is the same as above, and as for the above, no potability test was conducted. You will now follow part of the track for four-wheel drives, but you are fairly unlikely to come across any.
: the old path is actually a few metres above you. You may, from time to time, see the walls that lined it. The track that you follow is, for now, quiet enough as no large vehicles can get down there. It has essentially collapsed and only hikers can use it.
After a few tens of metres, on your left, you will see the Casella vineyard, named after its owners. It hasn’t been cultivated for a long time, but one can still imagine what this place was like; the vines in neat rows, the cabin with its press, oak barrels and donkeys to take the wine back to the village...
If you leave early in the morning, that part of the road is still in the shade, otherwise you will have to suffer the heat because the vegetation is not thick enough to protect you from the sun. Hydrate yourself well, it will be about 20 minutes before you arrive in the shade of the pines.
We may have been a little economical with the truth earlier; you're going back through the sewers again, but here the smell is less unpleasant.
: on this part of the town of Erbajolo, oaks are sparser and give way to tall pines, these are not the "Lariccio" pines of the forest of Vizzavona, and these are continental” pines and thanks to them the path is sheltered and you can take advantage of them to cool off The road on your left back to Casella arrives below the village. You can follow if you are in the mood.
The path meanwhile follows the road to the right. Follow the orange markings that lead off to the right of the road. This section of the path is in the shade; enjoy it!
climb under the pine trees along the trail. You walk along a low wall that delimits the field on your right, most property boundaries were, at the time, indicated by stone walls, or by streams or by trees.
The road turns right a little higher up, and then down again to take you to Cherchiglioni.
: you find yourself in an old garden. Its owner went down Erbajolo two to three times a week to take care of his plantations.
There is a fairly large pool that was used to water the vegetables, the terraces were all planted, and there were tomatoes, courgettes, potatoes, onions, leeks, all kinds of vegetables...
We then had to go back to the village. They did not take the same path as you, because they were not there to enjoy the scenic route. Theirs was more direct, but it was not too easy either.
During the Second World War, the villagers fed largely on Jerusalem artichokes. They are always cored, that's why you will not find them in the various gardens that you will meet on your way.
Stop for a moment to look at the “Pagliaghju”, the small house. You would be forgiven for wondering if it is the ivy that holds the house together or if it is the house that holds up the ivy. It is now abandoned and it is not uncommon to find yourself face to face with a huge pig when visiting it...
and head up above the house to get back to the path. After a few minutes’ walk you will come to a gate. Head through it, but don’t forget to close it behind you. Cross a fairly clean section of ground recently cleared by the shepherd so that his goats and sheep graze in peace.
On the other side of this course is a new gate with the same instructions as for the previous one.
You are just metres from the famous "pedra a u moru".
: the inscription on the stone represents a cross surrounded by several points, it seems that around the year 1000, during a terrible battle at which the Corsicans emerged victorious, a great Barbarian warlord, a Moor, was beheaded, and his head was mounted on a spear and paraded as a trophy throughout Corsica. The headless body was buried, according to the legend, under the stone here. It would be easy to verify the accuracy of the story, to dig under the stone, but the problem is that over the centuries the stones have certainly, if only to get the track you'll be using to continue your journey through the territory of the town of Erbajolo.
: On the trail (4) before leaving, take time to admire the surroundings. In front of you will see a cluster of homes the hollow of the hill: this is Corte. Looking to the left you will see the villages of Venaco: St Pierre, Riventosa, Poggio, then a little to the left, Vivario, and then you can see the Col de Vizzavona.
To go back to the village of Erbajolo, turn back to the pass and head along the track. To your right is the barn with its goats and sheep. You'll follow the trail for a few hundred meters, make sure you keep your head protected from the sun.
While going back to Erbajolo, you can enjoy the beautiful panorama that stretches before you. Depending on the time of year, the colour of the vegetation changes, sometimes greenish with red tints, sometimes rather brown
Each season is a new table. You can see snow on the highest peaks, sometimes even in summer.
Keep an eye out and you might see some wild pigeons, some blackbirds, some goats and a few cows...
Arrive at "Foce", this is where you leave the track to head to St Christophe, the chapel that is located above the village of Erbajolo.
: the house that is to the right of the road was used a few years ago to store hay for a few cows grazing here. Here, long ago people threshed wheat, in Corsica this is called an "Aghja", a wheat area. Admittedly, most of the land on the top of the hills was sown with wheat. This is why the around the area there are a number of patches of wheat, most of the time in these places the wind blows fairly hard.
: The path then follows the ridge allowing you to discover the other side of the valley. There are the villages of Altiani Focicchia and the mountain above them called the “Monte Gaggio”. Along the bottom you can see the fields that border the Tavignano and around the bridge of Altiani. Behind you there are the villages of Rospigliani and Antisanti, the Antisanti television relay which serves a large part of the valley is on the last ridge to the left, facing south.
Erbajolo is not far away and to the left there is the communal cemetery; go through the big gate and you have arrived!
Note: there is still plenty to discover in our beautiful village.
: an early 20th century poem stated that one could see five cantons from the village of Erbajolo.
Seeing is believing.
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0
1 : km 0.54 - alt. km 0.54
2 : km 0.88 - alt. km 0.88
3 : km 3.36 - alt. km 3.36
4 : km 4.43 - alt. km 4.43
D/A : km 5.33 - alt. km 5.33
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.