Walking Around Corfu Old Town: Spianada Square ( Esplanade )
Spianada Square (Esplanade) is the biggest square in Greece or even better the biggest in Balkan. The word “Spianada” came from the Italian word “spianare”, which means flatten and is connected with the Venecian’s decision to improve island’s defense by demolishing the surrounding houses.
As you approach the Old Town of Corfu, Spianada Square is the first thing you see; park your car in the first available spot and enjoy a fascinating walk in one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
Spianada Square – Points of interest
The Peristyle is located at the ‘top end’ of the square. Designed by the British General, George Whitmore, in 1816, the Peristyle consists of 20 ionic columns and impresses with its simplicity. The Peristyle was built at the top of an old Venetian cistern, which used to be the biggest in Corfu with capacity almost 2000m3 ; that is the reason the locals call the Peristyle “sterna” a greek word for cistern.
Statue of Schulenburg & Boschetto Garden
As you walk down Esplanade, on your right hand side stands imposing the Corfu Old Fortress. Just outside the fortress’ entrance stands the statue of the German general Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg. The statue was designed by the renowned Venetian sculptor, Antonio Corradini, in honor of the general who led the Venetian army which repelled the Turks in the siege of 1716.
Need some time to relax?”Boschetto” the small garden with its refreshing lush, just outside the Corfu’s Old fortress is the perfect place. Inside you will find statues and busts of writters and philhellenes who have lived on the island, like the Lord Friderick North Guilford, Konstantinos Theotokis, Lorentzos Mavilis and of cource Gerald Durrell. If you have children with you do not forget to pass by the children’s playground inside the Boschetto.
Liston – The Aristocrats’ Promenade
This arcitectural achievement is one of Corfu’s trademarks. Built in 1807 by the French imperial commissioner Mathieu de Lesseps, who was inspired by the Rue de Rivoli of Paris, Liston was for many years accessible only to the island’s aristocrats. Only those who their name was written in the Libro d’oro (The Golden Book) had access to the area. Today Liston has, every day, thousands of visitors and is definately a must visit place when in Corfu. Spend some time in one of its fashionable cafes and enjoy a greek coffee, a corfiot beer or even a delicious meal.
Palace of St. Michael & George
Last, but certainly not least, visible from every “corner” of the Spianada Square (Esplanade), the Palace of St. Michael & George. The palace served as the High Commissioner’s residence, but was also the home of the Ionian Senate. The foundation stone was laid on St. George’s day in 1819, and it was completed in 1824. After the union of Corfu with the Kingdom of Greece in 1864, the palace served as a Royal residence until the Second World War. Today the palace houses the Museum of Asian art of Corfu. The collection of the museum started in 1927 and consists mostly of donations, the largest being from Gregorios Manos with 10,500 pieces.
Sources : Wikipedia Photos: Google