We drove to the horizon for breakfast. Campomoro was the most distant point visible from our terrace. We followed the winding coast road south from Propriano through Portigliolo and up to Belvedère then down to Campomoro for coffee at the beach café where we shared the last croissant. We were headed for the headland, the Pointe de Campomoro and its Genoese tower dated 1568.
The route was conveniently displayed on this beach noticeboard, together with favourite spots for scuba diving, and a harsh warning that sunscreen kills coral and pollutes the aquatic environment.
But the water was crystal clear.
We kept to the shade and followed the signs for the tower.
A network of paths winds through the maquis up to its door.
The Tower of Campomoro (Corsican: Torra di Campumoru) is a Genoese tower located in the commune of Belvédère-Campomoro (Corse-du-Sud) on the west coast of the French island of Corsica. The tower sits at an elevation of 78 m (256 ft) on the Punta di Campomoro headland which forms the southern limit of the Golfe de Valinco.
The tower was designed by Carlo Spinosa and built between 1585 and 1586 by the master-mason Giorgio Canton. It was one of a series of coastal defences constructed by the Republic of Genoa between 1530 and 1620 to stem the attacks by Barbary pirates. In 1992 the tower was listed as one of the official historical monuments of France.
Since 1986 the tower has been owned and maintained by a French government agency, the Conservatoire du Littoral. The agency plans to purchase 132 ha (330 acres) of the headland and as of 2011 had acquired 70 ha (170 acres).
A modern external staircase leads up into the tower.
An original internal staircase leads up onto the roof.
And up here you can see for miles, straight across the bay to the distant hillside above Propriano where we set out from this morning – click to zoom there in seconds, just left of the white speck!
And down along to the far end of the beach from where we’d just walked.
The path continues beyond the tower and over the boulder-strewn terrain down to the coast.
We threaded our way through tunnels of shadows and cooling, dappled holloways.
The southern extremity of the Golfe de Valinco is at the Punta di Campomoro (camp of the Moors)… Campomoro, at 16km from Propriano, isolated out on the point is never crowded with tourists. It has a beach of fine sand. A half-hour’s walk or gentle climb up through the maquis brings you to the Genoese tower on the Punta di Campomoro (built to prevent the Moors setting up camp again?). For those who enjoy walking this is an ideal area. There are no roads for 10km as the crow or seagull flies between the Punta di Campomoro and Tizzano, set in a deep narrow cove, on the west coast to the south. Tizzano has a small port overlooked by the ruins of an old fort.
According to the scuba diving map, this region is known as sec de la tour, dry (land) of the tower.
It’s an area of fantastical carvings. Fingers of rock extend into the sea, inviting irresistible scrambles over miniature mountain ranges populated by sculpted figures streamlined by the wind and the sea.
In the Garden of the Wind
We continued south from the headland along the coast path. I’d looked at the map earlier and I felt sure another path would join ours from the left, taking us back in a circle to where we started from.
It’s just a bit further.
Round this next corner.
But maybe I’d overlooked it. Or imagined it. Perhaps the heat was playing tricks.
So we turned back and retraced our steps.
In Campomoro we found a table on the terrace of the Restaurant des Amis with a view of the beach.
As we ate lunch we watched a snorkeller (we nicknamed him The Old Man Of The Sea) as he prodded and poked around in the sand until he found what he was looking for. He hauled up what appeared to be a hollow building-block, but it was in fact an octopus trap. He used his snorkel to extract the poor creature, at one point seeming to turn it inside-out. It looked like a painful business.
Fortunately we were not eating octopus.
What is the point of Campomoro?
The Pointe de Campomoro from the sea.
The Pointe de Campomoro from the air.
The Pointe de Campomoro from the choir of Sartène.