Years ago, we stopped off at the Oriu I Canni years ago on the way back from lunch at the Cala Rossa beach at Porto Vecchio, and I’ve been wanting to go back ever since, but somehow just never found the time.
This Oriu is perhaps the most photogenic and it’s easy to see why local people used to believe it was haunted. It’s also much bigger than it looks on the photos, so when Florence climbed up onto the roof so that I could take a photo of her as a ‘Lutin volant' (flying pixie), my heart was in my mouth and I could barely look through the lens!
Fortunately, even when I managed to fall in a hole, we didn’t need to call the emergency services, which is a stroke of luck really as the chances of getting a mobile signal up here is about the same as Statler and Waldorf from the muppets being elected to government. Oh no, wait a minute…
The other amazing thing about this particular Oriu is the doggie guide. Yes, there is actually a dog who guides you up through the maquis to this amazing structure because from below, you’d never know it was there. Today he seemed more interested in a quick pat on the head before going back to his sunbathing, but luckily we knew roughly where we were going and the path was well marked with cairns.
The views are amazing, and once we’d amused ourselves with a spot of escalade and a photo shoot in front of the Oriu, we decided to carry on to Chera where we knew there was another one. The downside is that we had to refer to the unreliable walking book to find out where…
Amazingly, we managed to find this one with no trouble at all (mainly because you can see it from the road!). There wasn’t much walking involved here, and the Oriu itself is nowhere near as impressive as I Canni or Monaccia d’Auddè, but we did find a rather enthusiastic puppy along the way.
So after nearly knocking me over by laying on my feet for a belly rub, and then causing the onset of tennis elbow from all the stick throwing, she accompanied us back to the village to where we’d seen a plaque commemorating GHJUVAN 'ANDRIA CULIOLI.
Known as the Corsican Bard, Culioli was a storyteller, poet, and singer. Throughout history, the bard has been associated preserving the history of a culture, genealogy, poetry, praise, satire and blame in particular for those who generally govern society. Resident of Chera, he continued to improvise on local life, the small rural society that surrounds it, and politically remained a staunch supporter of the ROCCA SERRA family.
Chera really is a bit of a ‘bled’ (a dead and alive hole in the back of beyond), so it was no surprise to find that the signs were only in Corsican. Luckily, our basic Italian stood us in good stead and not only did we find out about Culioli, but we also knew that the sign for Ghiesia Sant'Austinu would lead us to a chapel.
The chapel itself was just a ruin, but it was a nice walk through the woodlands which wwere covered in a carpet of mushrooms and leaves of every shade from bright yellows to burnt reds. It’s a shame we were starting to loose the light, but what a fabulous day!