Today I present to you yet another of the three ABCs of European travel (Another Bloody Castle, Another Bloody Church, Another Bloody Cathedral). Old joke and, yes, I’m just kidding. Both Ursula and I just love these things. Today it’s another cathedral — Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Ajaccio, otherwise known simply as Ajaccio Cathedral. This structure was erected between 1577 and 1593 and is credited to famed Italian architect Giacomo della Porta. While the exterior may not appear all that imposing in comparison to other cathedrals I have shown you on these consecutive Vision of the Seas voyages, just step inside. Doing so will change your mind rather quickly.
Time to look up and admire that arched ceiling and dome:
Let’s more along for a closer look at that altar:
Napoleon Bonaparte was baptized in this cathedral in 1771. Later in life, during his exile to St. Helena, he said, “If they forbid my corpse, as they have forbidden my body, a small piece of land in which to be laid, I desire to be buried with my ancestors in Ajaccio cathedral in Corsica.” A marble plaque inscribed with that quote remains today at the entrance.
You may have noticed that behind the altar is an impressive painting. Alas, I’ve been unable to find anything on it. Nevertheless, here’s a closer look:
The cathedral’s pipe organ was built in 1849 by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. It has since been restored and electrified.
We’ll call it quits for today, and on Monday we’ll stroll by Napoleon Bonaparte’s childhood home. Before we go, here’s one last look at that incredibly ornate cathedral ceiling:
It was approaching 12:30 p.m. when our bus arrived back into Ajaccio. We would soon return to our pickup point just outside the cruise terminal. In the background above and in the photo below you can see our competition that day for resources, NCL’s Epic (for more on this ship, see: Fun Photo Friday — Epic photos of an Epic ship). The Epic is a nice ship, but we were not happy to see her in port this day. Her passengers outnumbered us by several thousand, and she stole our berth, which required us to tender into port.
A few minutes later and we were strolling the tree-lined Av. Antoine Serafini:
At the west end of Place Foch, which is a plaza ringed by Av. Antoine Serafini, is Statua di Napoleone, a native son of Ajaccio, Corsica. The statue depicts Napoleon as a Roman emperor.
Continuing west, the two plaza-ringing branches of Av. Antoine Serafini merge together to become Av. du Premier Consul:
You may recall from last week a photo of this area taken from our arrival into port aboard Vision of the Seas. In that photo was what appeared to be a large crown. Well, that crown turned out to be a large light display, and here it is close up:
Turn south and follow Av. Eugène Macchini to find this additional small park-like outdoor dining area adjacent to Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta (the topic of next Monday’s article):
Now let’s just wander around as we head slowly back to the east: