The church of Porto Vecchio and the chapel of Santa Croce

View of the interior of the church of Porto Vecchio, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.

Say “Porto Vecchio” to anybody with a little knowledge of Corsica and he will reply with something about the most beautiful beaches. On the island and beyond. But what about the culture, history, arts, and traditions in Porto Vecchio? The little city of South Corsica surely has its charm and some things cultural worth taking a visit. For instance, the church of Porto Vecchio.

Porto Vecchio may not be the most relevant village/little town to visit in Corsica. We can easily admit that having a gem like Bonifacio a few kilometers away does not help. Porto Vecchio is, however, a nice place to spend a few hours. Its little streets, its houses and buildings made of granite, its comfortable atmosphere… All of it gives Porto Vecchio a certain appeal. Outside summertime, of course. Besides, every time we stopped there, we found a clean city and some nice places to have a drink.

The Church of Porto Vecchio

For architecture/legacy lovers, or any curious folk you surely are, visiting the church of Porto Vecchio is a must-do. This church is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, patron saint of the place. Proudly erected at the center of the old town, this is quite a recent structure, built over the ruins of the old one. The church of Porto Vecchio was consecrated in 1868, which is quite recent regarding the average date of construction of other churches around Corsica. It is furthermore singular to note that the edifice wasn’t really complete then, and still not today: you can see for instance in the photo just above that the four pillars on the frontispiece aren’t achieved.

In contrast, entering the edifice offers the discovery of an incredibly well-preserved church! And quite modern, though. As somebody accustomed to old churches lacking renovations (or simply electricity), I was surprised to pass threw an automatic door and witness some religious representations on screens. I will not hide that I prefer the good old painting, but have to admit that you feel in this church a wish for preservation. Anyway, the interest lies in the paintings, in trompe l’oeil for most of them, and the various representations of Christianity on stained glass. The ensemble retains a certain sobriety and at the same time a great sense of equilibrium. Above the front door, on the opposite side of the choir stands the organ. A nice church in short, impressive for its perfect maintenance.

The Chapel of Santa Croce

After visiting the church of Porto Vecchio, I suggest taking a few steps ahead and entering the tiny chapel situated in front. It is the chapel of the Brotherhood of Santa Croce, founded more than three centuries ago in the village of Quenza and still very active. The Brotherhood maintains ancient traditions and customs deeply linked to Corsican culture. The chapel of Santa Croce is like the church of Porto Vecchio, incredibly well-maintained. I appreciated the atmosphere inside the chapel, its simplicity, and the beauty of the woodwork in particular. Definitely a place to stop by.

Gallery: the church and the chapel

As always, you can obtain more information about everything we talked about by visiting the website of the Tourism Office of Porto Vecchio.

Guillaume Bereni

Guillaume is the owner and editor of Sustainable Corsica. He runs a consulting agency, named Mare è Monti Conseil, which aims to support companies in their project for more slow, cultural, conscious and sustainable tourism in Corsica. You can visit the website Happy husband, happy father of three energic children, traveling lover, curious by nature and a bit nerdy too (nobody is perfect).

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