Lovely Corfu, green and sun-drenched with its indented shores, a mythical,
fascinating island, first appeared on the scene at the dawn of time when she gave
refuge to Jason and the Argonauts on their return form their quest for the Golden
The description of "the island of the Phaeacians" in the
Odyssey, Odysseus’ last stop before arriving in his beloved Ithaca, is among
the most beautiful verses in world literature.
The incomparable beauty of the island, which appears from time to
time under other names, attracted a host of would-be conquerors. It also inspired
artists of every kind, who praised its charms in words and music or rendered them
in paintings, sculptures or engravings, spreading its renown to a wide public
over the past few centuries.
Literary figures such as Goethe, Oscar Wilde, Gerald and Lawrence
Durrell, the painters Alfred Sisley ad Edward Lear, immortalized with their pen
of palette Corfu's inimitable enchantment.
Even the great Napoleon was not unmoved by its beauty.
It was here that the sensitive empress Elisabeth of Austria
erected the Achilleion, the palace she viewed as the solace of her soul, while
according to Lawrence Durrell, Prospero’s island in The Tempest is modeled
on Shakespeare’s notion of Corfu.
Corfu was the birthplace of Greece’s
first governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias, of the composer Nikolaos Mantzaros (who
set to music Solomos’s "Hymn to Liberty", the country’s
national anthem), of the writers Polylas, Markoras, Mavilis, and Constantine Theotokis,
as well as being a source of inspiration to Greece’s national poet, Dionysios
Solomos. Today it continues to attract and delight its countless visitors.
(text: L. Briola)
This text (extract) is cited November 2003 from the Greek
National Tourism Organization tourist pamphlet (1993).