A port since Roman times, well-sheltered Macinaggio, 20km north of Erbalunga, was developed by the Genoese in 1620 for the export of olive oil and wine to the Italian peninsula. The Corsican independence leader, Pascal Paoli, landed here in 1790 after his exile in England, whereupon he kissed the ground and uttered the words “O ma patrie, je t’ai quitté esclave, je te retrouve libre” (“Oh my country, I left you as a slave, I rediscover you a free man”). There’s not much of a historic patina to the place nowadays, but with its packed marina and line of colourful seafront awnings, Macinaggio has a certain appeal, made all the stronger by its proximity to some of the wildest landscape on the Corsican coast.
Another reason to linger is to sample the superb Clos Nicrosi wines, grown in the terraces above the village, which you can taste at the domaine’s little shop on the north side of the Rogliano road, opposite the U Ricordu hotel.
North of the town lie some beautiful stretches of sand and clear sea – an area demarcated as the Site Naturel de la Capandula. A marked footpath, known as Le Sentier des Douaniers because it used to be patrolled by customs officials, threads its way across the hills and coves of the reserve, giving access to an area that cannot by reached by road.