We have studied the excited-state dynamics for the i-motif form of cytosine chains (dC)10, using the ultrafast fluorescence up-conversion technique. We have also calculated vertical electronic transition energies and determined the nature of the corresponding excited states in a model tetramer i-motif structure. Quantum chemical calculations of the excitation spectrum of a tetramer i-motif structure predict a significant (0.3 eV) red shift of the lowest-energy transition in the i-motif form relative to its absorption maximum, which agrees with the experimental absorption spectrum. The lowest excitonic state in i-(dC)10 is responsible for a 2 ps red-shifted emission at 370 nm observed in the decay-associated spectra obtained on the femtosecond time-scale. This delocalized (excitonic) excited state is likely a precursor to a long-lived excimer state observed in previous studies. Another fast 310 fs component at 330 nm is assigned to a monomer-like locally excited state. Both emissive states form within less than the available time resolution of the instrument (100 fs). This work contributes to the understanding of excited-state dynamics of DNA within the first few picoseconds, which is the most interesting time range with respect to unraveling the photodamage mechanism, including the formation of the most dangerous DNA lesions such as cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers.