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Calvi, Haute-Corse

Calvi is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica.

It is the seat of the Canton of Calvi, which contains Calvi and one other commune, Lumio. Calvi is also the capital of the Arrondissement of Calvi, which contains, besides the Canton of Calvi, three other cantons: L'Île-Rousse, Belgodère, and Calenzana.

The 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment of the French Foreign Legion is based in the citadel of Calvi.

According to legend, Christopher Columbus supposedly came from Calvi, which at the time was part of the Genoese Empire. Because the often subversive elements of the island gave its inhabitants a bad reputation, he would have been expected to mask his exact birthplace.


Calvi is located on the northwest coast of the island of Corsica, 95 km (59 mi) from Bastia and 24 km (15 mi) from L'Île-Rousse. It is the fifth-largest commune in Corsica; however, the arrondissement is the smallest.


The motto, "Calvi semper fidelis" ("Calvi Always Faithful"), referred originally to its loyalty to the Republic of Genoa. The republic instated there a closed city center (préside) in 1278, and built a new castle in 1491 to face new artillery technologies.

During the war with Revolutionary France, British forces under Admiral Nelson and Lieutenant-General Charles Stuart captured the city in the Siege of Calvi. It was during the bombardment of Calvi that Nelson sustained the injury that cost him his eye.


The economy of Calvi is essentially based on summer tourism, which started in 1950 due to the pioneering efforts of Vladimir Raitz. Calvi is served by the international Calvi - Sainte-Catherine Airport, the Xavier Colonna Port, and a railway line to L'Île-Rousse and Ponte-Leccia, where it connects with the main line Ajaccio - Bastia.

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