Aleria Corsica used to be one of the major centers during Roman times. Today it is one of the best places to visit Roman ruins on the island and the small museum is worth a detour. Below is my guide to help you plan your visit of Aleria.
Navigate back to the complete Corsica Travel Guide
This article may contain affiliate Links (info on the Disclosure page). If you purchase using my link, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
Why visit Aleria Corsica
Aleria and Mariana were the 2 main Roman settlements in Corsica.
The location was ideal with a major river and good land for crops. Aleria, founded in the 6th century BC, is considered the oldest town in Corsica.
Aleria has had a long history. Today you can visit the ruins with great views of the region. Plus the many artefacts found have been curated and are displayed in the fort nearby.
How to get to Aleria + Visit Tips
- Aleria is located in the middle of the East coast of Corsica
- Along the main road T10 (on the coast)
- Or from inland, direct from Corte on T50
- Bastia to Aleria =1h15
- Porto-Vecchio to Aleria = 1H15
- Corte to Aleria = 45min
- Ajaccio to Aleria = 2h
- The roman ruins are clearly indicated as 'Site Antique' on brown signs
- The only way to explore the region is by renting a car
Aleria is included in my eBooks (with GPS coordinates and the best things to do in the area):
- Easy walkable site
- Some steps in the museum
- Large carpark - 5min walk from the museum
- Opening hours = at least 9:30am to 12:30 and 1:30pm to 5:30
- Small fee to enter
- Purchase your entrance ticket at the fort museum first before going to the ruins
- Cafés in the village surrounding the ruins
Village of Aleria around the ruins
Around the ruins and the museum is the small village of Aleria.
It is a typical Corsican village with a small church and large grey houses.
Below is the view of the village from the ruins:
This is the church in the center of the village. You can't miss it, it is across the fort.
It is Saint-Marcel, an old church of Romanesque style. It was partly built with stones from the Roman town.
It is recognised for its paintings.
The village is build on land with slight elevation. So from the village you have good views of the region and the Tavignano river. The river was essential to the settlement for life and farming.
Archeology Museum of Aleria (Matra Fort)
Your first stop is the Matra fort. It was originally built by the Genoese at the end of the 14th century. And it has been restored many times.
It was built in a strategic location (on higher grounds) to keep watch of the whole region.
This is where you get your ticket.
It is home to the Museum Jérôme Carcopino, i.e.e The regional museum of Archeology. It is named after a famous historian expert in Roman times.
It is really worth a tour. The pieces displayed are mostly in excellent conditions.
Aleria has had a long history until it was destroyed in the 5th century.
You can find many dishes, ceramics, vases, arms in Bronze, coins and object of daily life.
One of the most intriguing pieces, is the dog head you can see at the beginning of the article.
Roman Ruins of Aleria
Then you can walk to the excavated ruins. It is a short and easy walk.
Don't forget to keep your ticket on you.
There are lots of signs and explanation to understand what you are looking at and how the city was organised. Here is a map of Aleria as deducted from the ruins.
Here is a summary of what has been found:
- The forum was built between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. It is located in the center of the excavated ruinds
- Shops were installed on each side of the forum. The ones on the South side are better preserved. You can see a series of individual spaces
- Arches were in place to access the forum
- The present site contains at least 2 temples facing west and east of the forum. Both had been rebuilt through the centuries
- The best preserved features are the more recent basins and water tanks. More than 10 water reserves are know to have existed
- Thermal baths were set up in the Balneum which must have been an imposing building
- Other thermal baths have been found on the site, some public and others transformed for private use.
You can walk around and explore the various parts of the site. It is easy walking with views of the village, the valley and the sea.
Driving in the region of Aleria
Etang de Diane
If you like mussels, the region is also famous for the Etang de Diane.
It used to be a strategic port for the region.
Now it is recognised for its aquatic environment
It is a fishing and aquaculture center.
Its most famous produce are the mussels. You can even find places to taste them right by the water
Agriculture and vineyards
Contrary to the other coast of Corsica, on this side the mountains don't drop directly into the water.
There is flat land in between which is great for agriculture.
Yu can find some vineyards with great views fo the mountains 🙂
And the views are really enjoyable as you drive towards the South.
Beaches near Aleria Corsica
The beaches near the town of Aleria are mostly long stretches of grey sand.
It is not bad, the sand is actually nice. But it does not have the charm of all the beautiful beaches in Corsica.
For a more golden sand, you should drive South. One of the first beach to consider is Chiola, 30min down on the T10 roads.
But if you want stunning white sand beaches, you have to head to the region around Porto-Vecchio (find out more).
This is Chiola beach:
One of my favorite things to do around Aleria is to drive the Inzecca Canyon.
It is often overlooked by visitors who prefer driving more South and head to the Solenzara canyon where it is easy to swim.
Inzecca is not a great place to go swimming but the short drive is fascinating with narrow gorges, lush vegetations, white boulders and steep rock walls.
This was one of my favorite views. Impressive, isn't it?
Other Roman ruins in Corsica : Mariana (North of the island)
If you are into Roman ruins, the other major site to visit in Corsica is Mariana.
It is located to the North of the island, not far South from Bastia.
The site is smaller, but they are building a large museum just across the roads and it should become a major archeological site.
Want to see more of CORSICA?
Do you enjoy roman ruins?
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: