Settled first by the Romans, then ruled by Genoans for nearly half a millennium, Calvi was freed by Corsica's native son Napoleon in 1791. In 1982 it was given special status and now enjoys a uniquely autonomous position within the realm of France. Ringed with alternating precipitous cliffs and fine sand beaches, the island resembles a mountain thrust up out of the water, but its ruggedness is tempered by brilliant sunlight and groves of olive and orange trees. Napoleon once said that he could recognize Corsica with his eyes closed - by its perfume alone. While touring Corsica, be advised that the roads about this mountainous island are quite winding with many curves.