Maison Bonaparte

The Bonaparte family house

The house is classified historic building and becomes a national museum in 1967.

The history of the Bonaparte family goes back to the late 15th century with Francesco, the first Bonaparte to move to Corsica, nicknamed the Moor of Sarzane after the small Italian town from which the Bonaparte family originated.
It was at the end of the 17th century that the Bonaparte family moved into part of the house that now bears their name. As time went by they managed to take over the entire house, floor by floor, and at times, room by room, as the Corsican custom was to subdivide houses between a significant number of people. In 1766, after lengthy negotiations within the family and a few strategic marriages, the "casa" became the largest on the Rue Malerba, later to become the Rue Bonaparte. By then the house was in a state of considerable disrepair, and required expensive work on the roof, and repairs to the interior walls, windows and floors. A permanent staircase was also constructed to replace the simple, movable ladder that had been used to reach the upper floors.
The Bonapartes’ only male heir, Carlo, married Letizia Ramolino in 1764. They had twelve children, of whom eight survived, and seven of them were born in this house in Ajaccio: Joseph (born in Corte), Napoleon, Lucien, Elisa, Louis, Pauline, Caroline and Jérôme. As wealthy landowners, their revenues came from their farms and lands, producing wine, oil, flour, fruit, milk, cheese and meat to feed their family and servants.