Maison Bonaparte, Napoleon’s birthplace in Ajaccio, is a four-story, centrally located museum building, documenting Bonaparte family’s life in Corsica.
The Napoleon family originally moved to the island of Corsica from Genoa during the 17th century, when Giuseppe Bonaparte married Maria Bozzi in 1682.
The money the newlyweds received as dowry was used to purchase the house Rue Saint Charles, which became ‘Casa Napoleon‘ (a main residence for the family).
Later, when Charles-Marie Bonaparte married young Letizia Ramolino, in 1764, they also made the Casa Napoleon their family home.
PHOTO: Maison Napoleon building within Rue Saint Charles.
PHOTO: Placate over the entrance to the Napoleon’s birthplace museum reads: “Napoleon est ne dans cette maison le XV aout M DCC LXIX”, in English “Napoleon was born at this house on 15th of August 1769”.
Bonaparte family’s children, in order Napoléon, Lucien, Louis, Jérôme, Elisa, Pauline and Caroline, were all born at the Rue Saint Charles home.
After her husband’s death, in 1785, Letizia continued to live with the children at the house.
The last time Napoléon spent time at the house, for a couple of days in1799, was after he had rising to the rank of a General, and was returning from a military campaign in Egypt.
When Letizia moved out of the house that same year, 1799, the fate of the birthplace house was of concern to Napoleon…and to solve this, in 1805, he donated it to his cousin, André Ramolino.
Napoleon’s mother returned to live at the house in 1832, and after her death, from 1843, it became a possession of Napoleon’s brother, Joseph.
Emperor Napoleon III had the birthplace expanded and rebuilt, in time for the celebrations of Napoleon I’s 100-year birth anniversary in 1869.
The building remained a Bonaparte family’s possession up to 1923, when it was given to the state, and later, in 1967, turned into a museum.
Today’s Musée Maison Natale de Napoléon has been dedicated to documenting and exhibiting Bonaparte family’s life in Corsica.
Of the museum rooms, highlights include the room where Napoleon was born…
…and many French come to spend a quiet moment in that room, showing respect to one of France’s great historical personalities.
At the museum, you can also see…
- the alcove bedroom, where Napoleon spent a night after returning from Egypt,
- Napoleon’s mother’s, Letizia’s, room, and
- the magnificent 16-meter long reception room.
Of the individual highlights within Maison Napoleon museum, some of the most memorable are:
- paintings and sculptures of Bonaparte family, including those of Napoleon’s parents and siblings,
- the birth certificates of Bonaparte children, and
- letters from the life of the family.
Opposite the museum building, there is a small garden with a bronze bust, “King of the Romans”, portraying Napoleon I’s son, Napoleon II.
The sculpture was made by Jean-Elie Vezien, for the 100-year anniversary of Letizia’s death, in 1936.
The official website has hours of operation, entrance fees, and detailed information about the museum collections.