A view of the village from the nearby hillside
|Intercommunality||Les Deux Sorru|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Antoine Carlotti|
|Area1||27.75 km2 (10.71 sq mi)|
|• Density||4.6/km2 (12/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|INSEE/Postal code||2A028 /20160|
|Elevation||108–1,174 m (354–3,852 ft)
(avg. 420 m or 1,380 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Somewhat isolated in a valley, the village is at an altitude of about 500 meters above sea level. It is the only Due Sorru that faces the sea, since the rest of the region lies beyond Col Saint Antoine and thus faces inland.
Two others valleys, now uninhabited, form with the first a territory that varies in elevation from just above sea level to almost 700 meters above it. The village, then, is situated in both mountainous and seaside areas.
The area's climate is as follows: strong winds from both the mountains and the sea, a few days of snow in winter, and a several-week-long summer heatwave softened by summer breezes from the mountains.
Precariously perched, the village is in constant danger of rockslides from the nearby granite cliffs, although rockslides have yet to cause any serious damage.
In winter, the beautiful sunsets of the Calanche de Piana come and spend several months in Balogna - for a quarter of an hour before nightfall, the village shines orange.
The village was established relatively recently, under the Genoan rule. One hypothesis holds that it was originally a place to exile people from Balagne (hence the name) who resisted Genoan rule, which would explain a lot.
No old artifacts exist in Balogna even though there are many in the surrounding area. On the other hand, there is a prehistoric site at Tragonatu.
Like elsewhere in Corsica, the peak in population - perhaps 800 people - was reached in the nineteenth century, but the population is stable at about 200 people, with the highest or perhaps the only high birthrate in the area.
Politics in Balogna are similar to those in the rest of Corsica - rather than contests between the left and the right, elections are between nationalists, Catholics, and secularists.
The Due Sorru region is nonetheless considered rightist, more due to its postcolonial history than anything else.
In 2006, Balogna was the only place in Corsica that had a nationalist majority - a regional nationalism that is based on the wisdom of the people and the defense of a country that has always remained quite poor in spite of its excellent location and the intellectual and political successes of its exiles on the continents and in Ajaccio.
This is a wisdom that does not seem to involve raising the statude of this wonderful village by improving it. Recently, however, the narrow road leading to the village, which ends in the village, has been widened, and three supporting walls, one made of granite, have been constructed, and one of the two lavoirs was restored.
Population change 1990 - 1999: + 10 inhabitants
- Natural change 1990 - 1999: -25
- Migratory change 1990 - 1999: +35
- Average yearly population change 1990 - 1999: + 0.6%
Gendered breakdown in 1999:
- men 51.2% (national average 48.6%)
- women 48.8% (national average 51.4%)
Age breakdown in 1999:
- Older than 75 10.6% (national average 7.7%)
- 60–74 years old 37.1% (national average 13.6%)
- 40–59 years old 22.9% (national average 26%)
- 20–39 years old 20% (national average 28.1%)
- 0–19 years old 9.4% (national average 24.6%)
Households in 1999:
- 1 person households 32.9% (national average 31%)
- 2 person households 35.6% (national average 31.1%)
- 3 person households 12.3% (national average 16.2%)
- 4 person households 8.2% (national average 13.8%)
- 5 person households 8.2% (national average 5.5%)
- 6 or more person households 2.7% (national average 2.4%)
The village is spread out and divided into several quarters - at the entrance, around the church, the "Corte", whose atmosphere reminds one of certain villages of the Venetian Lagoon or in certain rural parts of Tuscany. The long circular route that give its shape to the village makes a sharp turn to cross U Canale, a place whose name might come from an old canal or from one of the old families that lives there, if not both. Then the road turns towards the location of the first houses built under Genoan rule, which stand protected at the bottom of the valley, "A Cardiccia". There are also more specific quarters like Guazzina, named after the fountain located there.
Finally, three uninhabited valleys behind the village that were once in use (chestnuts, olives, kilns) make up the rest of the territory of the commune. Now this area is used for hunting, hiking, and swims in streams or in the river Sagone. Two bridges, one recent, one dating back to the nineteenth century, apparently the result of first attempt at a Genoan bridge, show the lasting efforts of conquest and control of the territory. Until 1930, there was an important mule road, which explains why the Balogna families are so close to those of Marignana even though the routes between two such formerly close villages are now so indirect.
The main visible monument, Balogna's church is typical of a Toscan country style - you can also see the same style in the Tuscan Apennines, on the other side of the sea. The bell tower was built after the church itself. The only flat part of the village, the parvis, above the cemetery, is a place of rest and joy. The church is dedicated to the village's patron saint, Santu Quilicus, after whom it is named. Santu Quilicus translates to Saint Cyr, but this name is never used. Santu Quilicus' day is also the village's holiday, and it is celebrated with a parade and with games and feasting July 14 and 15.
At the base of the commune, there is a hot spring, but unfortunately it is located on private land and not accessible to the public.
Two buildings bear witness to past activity.
The old inn, which could have housed about thirty people, has been turned into a barn. Since then, one has to imagine the wooden partitions, dormitories, bedrooms, common meals and games at night to relieve the boredom of the patients...
Nearby, there are two springs with mythic virtues - one hot and sulphureous, the other cold but also sulphureous. The first was famous for having "bleached" psoriasis, and the second was good for the eyes. There was one bath for men and one for women, as found elsewhere in Corsica. Only one remains.
In the 1970s, European investors supported the construction of a golf course attached to a thermal station, but now only the olive trees, clementine trees, and feral animals give the place its charm.
The bandit Mathieu Poli (not to be confused with Théodore Poli), wrongfully condemned to a work camp in Cayenne for a murder he did not commit, was a model prisoner up until he was able to return and straighten things out. His biography is currently being written.
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