Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Is Villa Calavrenzo threatened with demolition?

One of the most beautiful old mansions of Corfu, Villa Calavrenzo in Kanoni, is said to be threatened with demolition. Situated in the confluence of the Palaiopolis and Faiakon streets, it dominates the area with its victorian beauty. The building is unoccupied and derelict for many years and it seems that nobody wants to buy and renovate it (a plaque at the front of the building, inform us that it is for sale). Recently, I heard that the property will be bought by someone who wants to build an apartment block in its place. That means another outstanding piece of architecture will be gone for ever, like so many others destroyed by some mindless and uneducated people.

Let's have a quick look at its history:

Villa Calavrenzo was built in 1900 (like a plaque on its front wall suggest) by the rich Konstantinos Calavrenzo. Calavrenzo is said to had been of south italian origin (from the province of Calabria in the southernwestern side of the italian peninsula). It boasted an innovative for its times mechanical system which lifted the food cooked in the kitchen from the ground floor to the upper floors.
In 1916, during the short lived french occupation, the villa housed the headquarters of general De Mondesir.
After WWI, the villa was the home of Georgios Calavrenzo, son of Konstantinos, which lived there until his death in 1965. After his death, the building was left unoccupied but the people, even nowadays, call the neighbouring area "Kalavrentzou" after the owner of the villa.

The front of the villa, notice the "for sale" sign

The plague right next to the gate which it could read: "Villa Calavrenzo"

The plague which reads "ETOΣ 1900" ("YEAR 1900") was left to fade like the rest of the building

Various images of the Villa Calavrenzo

Don't you think that this is a lovely building? Would you like to see it gone away forever?
Something should be done to persuade the new owners not to tear it down and renovate it to its former glory. Also, the local goverment should list this edifice like a protected building like all those already protected ones in various parts of the island.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Corfu Easter videos

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. There will be a big procession  in Corfu Town which will mark the opening of the Easter festivities.
Like every year, we are expecting lots of visitors from other parts of Greece.
Here are some videos I found in YouTube where you can see how unique is Easter in Corfu.
I think you still have the time to book your Easter holidays and see yourself how special is this time of the year in our island.

The Philarmonic Society of Corfu playing Albinoni's "Adagio" in the Epitaph of Metropolis.

The Mantzaros Filarmonic Society playing "Caldae Lacrime" at the Epitaph of S. Spyridon in Easter Saturday morning.

The old Philarmonic of Corfu playing Faccio's "Amlet":

Coverage of the Epitaph of Saint Spyridon by local Corfu channel

After the Epitaph of Saint Spyridon, the first Resurrection takes place and the bands play cheerful marches.

At exactly 11 a.m. the first Resurrection takes place and is signified with the "botides"(clay pots) being thrown from the windows and balconies when the first "botos" (bell ring) is heard.

The fireworks after the Resurrection Mass are spectacular

In Easter Sunday there are many processions around Corfu Town

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Analipsi: A well-to-do suburb up the highest point of the Kanoni peninsula

Analipsi is a small leafy suburb of Corfu Town on the top of a steep hill which happens to be the highest point of the so called Kanoni peninsula. Archeologists say that on the top of that hill stood the citadelle of the ancient Corfu. Ancient corfiots evacuated the place in the first centuries after Christ in search of a better fortified place in which they could seek protection from the pirates. So after that move, the place remained vacant for many centuries. It was inhabited again a couple of centuries ago when the Analipsi(Resurrection of Christ) church was built and people begun to inhabit the place again.
Being on a higher ground and having a splendid view toward the town and its environs, the locality begun to attract wealthy residents. Still today it's a desirable place to live with some nice villas. To reach Analipsi you should follow the road right next to the entrance of the Mon Repois estate.

The road continues uphill passing through some walled estates (some of them have a villa in the centre). The wall on the left is the southern side of the Mon Repois, which building was a summer palace for the Kings of Greece.

Some beautiful and old iron gates could be seen as well, most of them actually are backdoors.

On the right a beautiful villa could be seen through the greenery and from its garden Chalikiopoulou lake could be seen along with a chunk of southern Corfu.

Suddenly the road meet another ascending road with a street sign saying "Συνοικισμός Αναλήψεως" (Analipsi community).

By turning left, we are going uphill again towards the centre of this small community.

On the left there is an old house, probably one of the first built here. A bit further up on the right a cosy villa with a couple of palm trees make a good contrast between the old and the new.

Two hundred metres up, we reach the centre of Analipsi with its traditional church.

After passing the church, there is a small roundabout which is used to turn back downhill towards the town.

 But there is a small road starting from the roundabout, which leads to a open space with some fine views towards the sea. This is the site where the Analipsi festival is held every June celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus and its one of the most traditional and popular in the island.
The view is precious, the old Fortress could be seen at the left, the mountains of Epirus in the background and  looking down the leafy coastline of Kanoni peninsula reveals its splendour.

As a result of this picturesque view, some splendid villas with pools were built by some wealthy Corfiots.

It's about time to go back to the town. Driving downhill in the central road, the Old Fortress could be seen in the middle of the greenery.

After driving down the same road we've already ascended, we arrive to the official end of the Analipsi area, which is where Analipsi road meet Nausikas street. Some nice modern apartment dominate the spot.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

A Documentary about the "Filarmonic Society of Corfu" (in greek)

Here is an ERT3 documentary that was aired last year about the most ancient wind band in Greece, the Filarmonic Society of Corfu (est. 1840). If you want to download it, I have already posted the download links in February 2009 post.

It is in three parts and it is approximately 40 minutes long.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Corfu in detail 4: Milestone in Villa Rosa

Most of you may haven't noticed the ancient milestone on the narrow pavement right outside Villa Rosa. Villa Rossa is on the southern part of Donatou Dimoulitsa street which becomes the Lefkimmis national road a few hundred metres down the road. This road is always busy with traffic as it's the southern entrance to Corfu Town.

Looking at the milestone, it has an arrow and the letters "BO" carved on it which probably points at the north (the letters "BO" should be an acronym for "BOΡΕΙΑ" which means "north"). the others sides of it are blank. In my opinion, it helped old corfiots to find their way to the north of the island before getting lost in the maze of the Corfu Town streets.

I really hope with the forthcoming widening of the road, this milestone will not be removed and get placed somewhere else.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

"Metal Ritual I" @ Ampelonas Triklino, 06/03/2010

Yesterday there was a notable heavy metal mini-festival at Ampelonas Triklino. Five greek bands played live (two of them, Stalkers and Psycorepaths are corfiot bands) and the headliners of the event was the athenian black metal group Aherusia with its distinctive fusion of cretan lyra sounds and metal.
Gigs like this are very important for our island, because it is an alternative option for a night out and give the chance to enjoy some live music which is rare in Corfu.

I shot three videos but unluckily the sound is very bad because there were shot with a mobile phone.

Whitenoiz on stage:


Aherusia, the headliners of the festival:

Monday, 1 March 2010

Some pics from the National Geographic Magazine - July 1973

I scanned those documentary pictures from the National Geographic Magazine (2002 greek reprint of an article of the July 1973 american NGM issue). That article was dedicated to the Ionian islands and presented Corfu as a beautiful, then unspoiled paradise with quality tourism and preserved traditions of the past. Let's see what the caption under each photograph said:

" Being a bright lighthouse for seamen, Corfu welcomes them with a seaside park beside the old houses which the time have left its marks on them."

" The passers-by dominate the Nikoforou Theotoki street with its characteristic vaulted buildings "

"By day a museum but by night a casino, Achilleion Palace was built by Elisavet, empress of Austria as a resort from the austere typicallity of the royal court."

"The shops in Corfu trade jewels, sugared fruits and copies of ancient finds. Handmade blouses and skirts cost between 10 and 20 dollars."

"The maze of houses in Corfu Town centre reaches the top of the hill. There, the venetian fortress stood the repeated assaults of the Othoman. The Corfiots believe that Saint Spyridon (their patron saint) saved them from the Turks. His relics are kept in the church at the left."