The Venetian influence on Corfu

By: | Post date: June 10, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

The evidence that there were Venetians here is to be seen as well, but it needs a bit more hunting than the evidence of the British.

The first evidence I saw was a heraldic crest from 1692, randomly popped into a wall I walked past, outside Pane e Souvlaki souvlaki joint.

May be an image of monument

As I realised the following day, there nothing random about that: the building was the Old Town Ηall, which I had walked behind. Next to it on Town Ηall square, the Catholic cathedral of the city.

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The second piece of evidence, this cannon randomly deposited in George Theotokis (formerly: San Rocco) Square, around the corner from my accommodation, dated 1681.

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As with a lot of such administrative name changes, they get ignored by the locals. Corfu-born George Theotokis, four-time prime minister, deserves commemoration, but he already has the street leading to the square, plus a statue right beside St Spyridon Cathedral:

May be an image of monument

And because the Theotokis family were such a big deal here, it does seem like every third street in town is named after a Theotokis. The bus stop at the square is defiantly named “Saroko” instead.

The New Town Fortress is inland, complementing the Old Town Fortress in the sea. They are both formidable, and both stacked with Venetian masonry.

May be an image of street

And both in Corfu and in Greek as a whole, most words you see ending in –ada, including pastitsada and the Spianada, are Venetian counterparts to words ending in Standard Italian in –ata.

The streetscape in Corfu is faintly reminiscent of Venice—but only faintly. Ironically, my strongest flashback of Venice was bumping into the cathedral of St Spyridon merely by turning a corner. That is something that this bit of the Old Town shares with Venice: unexpected piazzas, exploding into view.

St Spyridon did an encore, with two more churches in the next piazza.
And I’m reasonably sure that the photogenic, run-down Old Corfu Town alleys would not look out of place at least somewhere in Northern Italy;

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