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Zonza (Municipality, Corse-du-Sud, France)

Last modified: 2012-05-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: corse-du-sud | zonza | moor's head | dolphin (white) | mouflon |
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[Flag of Zonza]

Flag of Zonza - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 2 October 2011

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Presentation of Zonza

The municipality of Zonza (2,226 inhabitants in 2008; 13,446 ha) is located in South Corsica, spread on 20 km WE and 12 km NS. The municipality is made of a number of settlements including two main villages. Zonza, the seat of the municipal administration, is landlocked in the center of Corsica, 1,000 m asl, dominated by the scenic Bavella Needles mountains enjoyed by hikers from all over the world; Sainte-Lucie-de- Porto-Vecchio (Corsican, Santa Lucia di Porti Vecchju) is located close to the sea shore, with access to the sea by the port and beach of Pinarello, and to the town of Porto-Vecchio. The shortest distance between the two main villages is hardly 20 km, but there is no direct road connecting them; accordingly, the road distance is 50 km requiring a one-hour drive. Most of the population (80%) of the municipality lives in the lower area and the two parts of the municipality have two independent economical developments.

Zonza is located in the region known as Alta Rocca, the eastern, upper part of the former feudal domain ruled by the Rocca family before the set up of the Genoese rule over Corsica in the 16th century. The Genoese administration mainly developed the sea shore and favored Porto-Vecchio as a local capital, so that Sainte-Lucie di Cavo (named for a river) was renamed Sainte-Lucie-de-Porto-Vecchio. The port of Pinarello was created at this time to export cork, pinewood and charcoal to Italy, especially to neighboring Sardinia. The St. George Office (indeed a bank in charge of the management of Corsica for the Republic of Genoa) set up a system of watch towers built all along the coasts of Corsica to prevent raids from the Barbary Coast; the municipality of Zonza owns two of these "Genoese towers", located in Fautea and Pinarello / Isoli di Corsi.
The village of Zonza, originally known as Zonza di Carbini, took its present shape in the 17th century. It was an important mountain crossroad and a place of sheep and goat transhumance; in summertime, the wet areas around Sainte-Lucie became very unhealthy because of the proliferation of mosquitos.
Zonza was visited in 1736 by Théodore I, the self-proclaimed and short-lasting King of Corsica. In 1952, Mohammed V, the Sultan of Morocco overthrown by France, was "invited" to stay in Zonza for five months. Zonza is today the site of the Viséo horse track, the highest in Europe (950 m), active in July-August only.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 2 October 2011

Flag of Zonza

The flag of Zonza, as seen in July 2007, hoisted on the Town Hall and the municipal camping place, is white with the municipal "coat of arms" in the middle.
The coat of arms, indeed an emblem, is an elongated oblong shield filled with picturesque elements recalling the place, from top to bottom; the Corsican Moor's head on a blue sky, the Bavella Needles, a mouflon, river Cavo, a Genoese tower on a rocky spur, a pine, a port, the sea and a dolphin. The names of the two main villages are written at the top (ZONZA) and bottom (Sta LUCIA / di / PORTI-VECCHJU), respectively

Olivier Touzeau, 2 October 2011