BIGUGLIA : Former capital of Corsica
From this brilliant past, today we can find traces, pieces of the Roman road that linked Mariana to Nebbiu, the ruins of the first church of Saint Andrew, the foundations of the Castle, architectural elements integrated into more recent buildings, memories of a capital that has become a modern city.
In 1407 VINCENTELLO D'ISTRIA was appointed Count of the Island of Corsica. He made Biguglia his capital. At the time, Biguglia was considered a stronghold thanks to its port and the Chiurlino pond. The commune of Biguglia whose name evokes the rocky spur dominated the road which connected the plain to the Nebbiu ("aguglia" then "guglia" in lower Latin means needle, the point) played an eminent role in the history of Corsica in the Middle Ages. Main seat of the powerful BAGNAIA family, first settled near the ancient city of Mariana. Their stronghold extends from the Golo valley to the Cap Corse, it constitutes with its castrum, a refuge for the populations, a place of worship with its church dedicated to Sant'Andrea and an important economic centre. With wisdom, the lords of Biguglia placed themselves under the authority of Pisa. Later, the convent and the hospital of St Francis attracted the domination of the richest families. The present village still bears the traces of this rich past, it contains the foundations of the castle and is dominated by ruins that give an idea of the importance of the site.
The most famous episode, that of the power exercised by Vincentello of Istria from 1407 to 1432, was the most famous. In 1476 Vincentello's uncle, Arrigo della Rocca, was proclaimed Count of Biguglia. It should not be forgotten that the powerful characters were eager to establish their power as counts. Their objective, to rule from Biguglia. It was therefore quite natural that the first Genoese Governors chose Biguglia to lead their struggle against the feudal lords. It was there that the power of justice (the vicariate) was exercised, whose deeds allow us to discover endearing characters like Andria the Barber.
In 1489 the castle was dismantled because Genoa chose Bastia, but the long history of the fortified settlement that forms the fabric of the old village gave Biguglia. Its character has allowed it to keep its originality.
In modern times, the development of the plain and the organization of pond fisheries are renowned throughout Italy. They allowed the supply of the neighbouring town and thus its development. These activities explain the wealth of the families who in the 18th century built elegant houses in the centre of their estates.