As ferries from Nice, Toulon, Marseille, Genoa and Livorno approach Bastia, on the northeast coast of Corsica, their view is dominated by the town’s imposing citadel. Weather-beaten walls of iron-rich rock frame the historic fortress in a rusty shade of red. From a distance, the new Aldilonda promenade all but disappears into this surrounding landscape. Facing the sea, the slender Corten rail that lines its edge echoes the tone of the castle’s walls. But even as it sensitively melds with its context, the subtle and sinuous path transforms it.
With Aldilonda (“above the sea” in Corsican), Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes has introduced a bold passage that celebrates both the citadel and the seaside. Designed in partnership with local architects Buzzo Spinelli, landscape specialists In Situ and engineers SBP, the 450-metre-long walkway hugs the coastline’s contours in gentle curves to create a pedestrian link to the citadel — as well as the lighthouse below it — integrating a stair and a ramp along the way.
Anchored to the rock five metres above sea level, it combines functional accessibility with a rare sense of immersion into nature. As it weaves along the coast, the path widens, inviting visitors to linger and take in the Mediterranean.
The structure is also a feat of engineering. It’s reinforced to withstand the temperamental waves that beat against the rock and flood the site in inclement weather (water flows through the open railings and down the perforated metal grates along the castle wall) and designed to absorb an impact of over 14 tonnes per square metre.
While it ensures pedestrian and cyclist safety, the installation also conveys a sense of openness, each element gesturing to the sky. Integrated every three metres along its length, LEDs bathe the shoreline, by turns tempestuous and tranquil, in soft light. This path to history — forged through the heart of the port town’s landscape — promises an experience to remember.
With Aldilonda, Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes has created a bold and contextual new passage that allows visitors to take in the Mediterranean.