Fozzano and Colomba's revenge: a news story and a famous novel

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The tower - ©Dhfozzano / CC-BY-SA The tower - ©Dhfozzano / CC-BY-SA
Colomba's tower Tower Tragic destiny Vengeance Prosper Mérimée

Colomba’s real story

Colomba’s story? A story of vendetta, typical Corsican revenge! Colomba Bartoli was born in Fozzano in May 1775. Here we can see her native house, the little church she raised in 1834 (she was buried here) and even the house of her enemies, the Durazzo.

The famous French novel ″Colomba″, written by Prosper Mérimée, is identical to the real story, except that Colomba was 58, in 1833: so she was not the young lady described by Prosper! But we’ll see that later.

The Carabelli and the Durazzo families (flanked by the Paoli family) were enemies. All began when a Paoli decided to go in the enemy camp. The riposte was immediate! The 3 clans fought. Shots, ambush. The situation get worse and worse.

Until few months later, two member of Carabelli family died. Colomba was furious: she only wanted revenge, now! For this, she set all her family (especially her son) against the Durazzo. A drama was smouldering… Colomba felt it deep in her heart! Anyway, the revenge started…

On December 30th 1833, 4 men fell in an ambush: two Durazzo died... and Colomba’s son, François. It was a big shock, a big scandal too. The island governor and the bishop of Ajaccio decided to do anything to stop that vendetta.

In the church of Sartène, they signed a treaty of peace. But in vain! It was too late. Colomba died at the age of 86. The priest suggested to confess herself, and above all, to forgive! Come on, Colomba… But her face became hard… she whispered her son’s name… and passed away.

Pretty... and rebel!

The famous French writer Mérimée sojourned in Corsica in 1839. He came to examine the island’s antiques… when he heard about an extraordinary story of vendetta, in Fozzano. Puzzled, he met Colomba, who was 65 at that time.

Her daughter Catherine was by her side: Mérimée found her so pretty, that he drew his inspiration from her, for his heroine! His Colomba has Catherine’s beauty and her mum’s tough nature...

Mérimée says in a letter to a friend: ″Yesterday I saw a heroin, madame Colomba… Her daughter, a heroin too, is young and lovely, with long hairs, nice lips...″ And when Mérimée was about to leave Corsica, he asked Catherine to marry him. Colomba refused. Why? Gossip said it was because Prosper was a foreigner… a French!

And also!