The city dates from Roman times, when a base was set up at Biguglia to the south, beside a freshwater lagoon, or étang. Little remains of the former colony, but the site merits a day-trip for the well-preserved pair of Pisan churches at Marana, rising from the southern fringes of Poretta airport. Although Bastia began to thrive under the Genoese, when wine was exported to the Italian mainland from Porto Cardo, forerunner of Bastia's Vieux Port, or Terra Vecchia. Despite the fact that in 1811 Napoléon appointed Ajaccio capital of the island, initiating a rivalry between the two towns which exists to this day, Bastia soon established a stronger trading position with mainland France. The Nouveau Port, created in 1862 to cope with the increasing traffic with France and Italy, became the mainstay of the local economy, exporting chiefly agricultural products from Cap Corse, Balagne and the eastern plain.
Pages in section ‘Bastia’: The Town, Arrival, Eating and drinking, Listings, Terra Vecchia, Terra Nova, Beaches.
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