Place du Donjon

Home to a striking Genoese palace, this pleasant square is also a gateway into the twisting alleyways of Bastia’s picturesque citadel.

Admire centuries-old palaces, visit an art and history museum and explore the ancient streets of Bastia’s Terra Nova (Citadel) at Place du Donjon. Surrounding Place du Donjon are elegant amber-hued houses, some home to bars, cafés and pizzerias. Sit at an outdoor terrace and order a coffee or a Cap Corse, which is an aperitif of fortified wine, quinine and herbs.

Dominating Place du Donjon is the magnificent Governor’s Palace, a Genoese structure that dates back to the 15th century. Have your camera ready to capture beautiful shots from the palace’s garden. Look down on the rooftops of Bastia’s Vieux Port (Old Port) and spot major city landmarks such as the twin-towered Church of St. Jean Baptiste. Gaze out to the endless blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. 

Step inside the palace to visit the Musée de Bastia (Bastia Museum). Discover the history of Bastia through a vast collection of folk art, ceramics, clothing and period furniture, among other artifacts. Learn about the architectural development of the city’s historic Vieux Port and Terra Nova districts. In summer, you can watch an audio-visual presentation that highlights the Governor’s Palace’s changes from a palace to a military barracks and a museum.

Leading from Place du Donjon are many winding streets that weave through the striking Terra Nova district. Examine the neoclassical-style Cathedral of St. Marie and the Oratory of La Sainte Croix, which houses a sacred black crucifix found by two fishermen in 1428. Wander along the old city ramparts and visit the pretty Jardin Romieu. From here stairs lead down to the Vieux Port district. 

Located south of Bastia’s city center, Place du Donjon is about a 20-minute walk from Place St.-Nicolas. If arriving by car, you’ll find the most convenient place to park at the Vieux Port. The Governor’s Palace and Musée de Bastia are open from Tuesday to Sunday. Admission fees apply for both the palace’s garden and the museum exhibits. Find full details on the museum’s official website.

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