Ajaccio is located on the west coast of the island of Corsica, 210 m. southeast of Marseille. It occupies a sheltered position at the foot of wooded hills on the northern shore of the Gulf of Ajaccio . The harbour lies to the east of the town and is protected on the south by a peninsula.
The present town of Ajaccio lies about two miles to the south of its original site, from which it was transferred by the Genoese in 1492. Occupied from 1553 to 1559 by the French, it again fell to the Genoese after the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis in the latter year. The town finally passed to the French in 1768.
- 1906: 19,021
The peninsula carries the citadel and terminates in the Citadel jetty. To the south-west of this peninsula lies the Place Bonaparte, a quarter frequented chiefly by winter visitors attracted by the mild climate of the town. Apart from one or two fine thoroughfares converging on the Place Bonaparte, the streets are mean and narrow and the town has a deserted appearance.
The house in which Napoleon I was born in 1769 is preserved, and his associations with the town are everywhere emphasized by street-names and statues. The other buildings, including the cathedral of the 16th century, are of little interest.
Ajaccio has a small manufacturing economy of cigars, macaroni, and similar products, and carries on shipbuilding, sardine-fishing and coral-fishing. Its exports include timber, citrons, skins, chestnuts and gallic acid.
The port is accessible by the largest ships, but its accommodation is indifferent. In 1904 there entered 603 vessels with a tonnage of 202,980, and cleared 608 vessels with a tonnage of 202,502.
The town is the seat of a bishopric dating at least from the 7th century. It has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, training colleges, a communal college, a museum and a library; the three latter are established in the Palais Fesch, founded by Cardinal Fesch, who was born at Ajaccio in 1763.
Ajaccio was the birthplace of:
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821), Emperor of France
- Joseph Fesch (1763-1839), cardinal
- Tino Rossi (1907-1983), singer, actor
- Fred Scamaroni (1914-1943), WW II Resistance hero
- Alizée (born 1984), pop singer