The Invasion of Corfu
From Nero to Nicolas Cage, the invasion of Corfu goes back to Roman
times and through to Hollywood today!
People have been so enchanted by Corfu that they have been
visiting and settling there for thousands of years. Madonna has beenspotted house-hunting on the island, continuing a long tradition. The Roman
Emperor Tiberius had a villa in Kassiopi, and the Emperor Nero visited the town
as well. Today you might see a nightclub called Caesar's, but it doesn't quite
date back to Roman times.
You might also look at Sidari and see a modern holiday resort,
but there were known to be people living here in 7,000 BC, no doubt enjoying
the sun and the sea every bit as much as we do today, though of course the waterpark
hadn't yet been invented. Even older than that, back in about 40,000 BC,
Palaeolithic people were living in the area around Gardiki Castle, the oldest
known remains on the island.
Since the first settlers arrived, wave after wave of people
have coveted Corfu. The first known invasion was by the Corinthians in 734 BC,
and they had more than package holidays in mind. They were fought off by the
Corfiot people who defeated them in what was the first recorded sea battle in
Greek waters, in 644 BC.
Some Cool Corfu Souvenirs
Paleokastritsa Luggage Tag
Corfu Cypresses Capri Leggings
The Invasion of
Corfu: The Romans
No sooner had the Corinthians been shown the way home than
the Spartans arrived, in 375 BC. Then the Romans turned up on the shoreline, in
229 BC. The Romans were at least invited in, as the Corfiots sought their help
to get rid of Illyrian invaders.
Having got rid of the Illyrians, the Romans obviously liked
it on Corfu as they stayed for almost 600 years, during which time some of
their Emperors and other dignitaries built villas here. It was also a popular
spot for those who could afford it to come on holiday, so the island's first
tourists go back about 2,000 years.
Later invasions by the Goths and Vandals didn't do much for
the tourist trade, and the pizza parlours probably went out of business. In the
11th century it was the turn of the Normans, who took Corfu to use as a base
while they tried to expand their empire into the Balkans, but in 1147 they were
turfed out of Corfu by a coalition of Corfiot, Byzantine, and Venetian troops.
The Invasion of
Corfu: The Venetians
In 1214 the Despot of Epirus invaded, Epirus being a country
made up of what is now southern Albania and northern Greece. In 1267 it was the
King of Naples' turn to rule the island, and in 1386 the Venetians took over.
It is the Corfiots' proud boast that they were the only part of Greece not to
be conquered by the Turkish armies, though it has to be said that the Turks are
just about the only nation not to have conquered Corfu at some stage.
The Invasion of
Corfu: The British
In 1797 the French took the island, and in 1814 the British
took over for their turn, which lasted 50 years. Finally in 1864 Corfu gained
its independence and became a part of the modern Greek state. Since then there
have only been a brief invasion by the Italians in 1923, and again in 1941 when
they controlled the island for three years alongside German forces.
In more recent times the island has had mainly peace and prosperity,
with tourists as welcome guests. A million of them arrive each year between
Easter and the end of October, when the season is in full swing. There is also
a sizeable overseas community, mainly British and German, who live on the
island all year round. Others have homes on Corfu which they use for part of
Nicolas Cage fell in love with Corfu, which he visited after filming Captain Corelli's Mandolin on the nearby Ionian island of Kefalonia, and has subsequently been seen house-hunting here. So too have Richard Gere and Madonna. It seems the only invasion these days is from Hollywood.
Where to Stay on Corfu
Other Corfu pages
Information for travellers to Greece on Corfu festivals and events including Easter, the Feast of St Spiridhon, Carnival and Name Days.
The history of Corfu and cricket goes back to 1823 when the island was under British rule, which left them with a legacy of loving both cricket and ginger beer.
The main two Corfu saints are Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu who saved the island four times from disaster, and Saint Theodora Augusta.
This Lawrence Durrell walk takes you from Kaminaki Beach in northern Corfu to the White House in Kalami where the writer Lawrence Durrell lived for four year.
Corfu Town’s Old Fortress is the town’s most striking landmark, standing east of the Old Town on top of a rocky promontory.
Kalami in north-west Corfu is a hidden gem which many people know about because writer Lawrence Durrell once lived here in The White House.
Southern Corfu has busy beach resorts like Benitses, historical buildings like the Achilleion Palace and Gardiki Castle, and wildlife at the Korision Lagoon.
This Mount Pantokrator drive takes you to the top of Corfu’s highest mountain with wonderful views to Albania, mainland Greece, and around Corfu.
Greece Travel Secrets picks where to stay in northern Corfu with budget and luxury hotels in Sidari, Daphnila Bay, Kontokali, Ipsos, Barbati and more.
North-West Corfu’s beaches and villages include busy resorts, quiet beaches, hill villages, and places ideal for watching the sunset,
Donna Dailey of Greece Travel Secrets visits Albania by boat from Corfu Town, staying overnight and seeing archaeological sites with Sipa Tours.
There are two sides to every Greek island, the tourist and the traditional, and this drive from Corfu Town through northern Corfu shows the two faces of Corfu.
Kassiopi is a popular tourist resort on the northeast coast of Corfu with a sandy beach, Byzantine fortress, old church, and lots of places to stay and to eat.
Greece Travel Secrets’ pick of where to stay in southern Corfu including hotels in Moraïtika, Paramonas, Messonghi, Agios Georgios, and near Benitses.
If you want to tour northern Corfu in three days you can see busy resorts, quiet fishing villages, Mount Pantokrator, and the Andinioti Lagoon.
There are three islands off the northwest coast of Corfu, Erikouusa, Othoni and Mathraki, popular with day-trippers from resorts like Sidari.
The First Corfu Beer Festival took place in Arillas in North West Corfu and celebrated the beer of Bavaria and of Corfu, in the Ionian islands of Greece.
This drive to Palaiokastritsa starts at Corfu airport and takes you across the Ropa Plan and through hill villages before returning to Corfu Town.
These fun facts about Corfu include how the island got its name, who wrote the Greek National Anthem, and the eccentric Englishman, the Earl of Guilford.
This Southern Corfu drive starts and ends in Moraïtika, taking in hill villages, secluded beaches, lovely views, and a visit to Gardiki Castle.
Angelokastro is a 13th-century hilltop fortress with breath-taking views near Paleokastritsa on the Greek island of Corfu in the Ionian Islands.
Corfu olives are an important part of this Greek island's economy, with an estimated 3-4 million trees producing olive oil of exceptional quality.
The Achilleion Palace is one of the most visited sights on Corfu and contains a museum and impressive gardens with wonderful views over the coast.
This is the Greece Travel Secrets selection of where to eat in northern Corfu, from classy restaurants and traditional tavernas to beachside fish tavernas.
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