The main promenade of Corfu is Liston, the most popular «stroll» for the Corfiots. It is located in the western end of Spianada, the large square and is enclosed by mansions forming large arcades, arches, in their last floor. These arcades, which are called voltes by the locals, now house numerous coffee shops and restaurants, making Liston the center of Corfu life for locals and visitors.
The rest of the floors were added later and its largest part was turned into luxury hotels, such as the «Hotel of England and of beautiful Venice » also known as «Bella Venezia». Eminent personalities from Greece as well as from abroad such as Konstantinos Kavafis and Dionysios Solomos stayed in its rooms.
The architectural complex which comprises Liston was built during the French occupation of the island (1807-1814), by Mathieu de Lesseps and copies the rue de Rivoli of Paris, while in its designing, the Greek engineer, Ioannis Parmezan helped. During the period of the English Governorship (1815-1864) the series of arches expanded while the floors were added gradually which nowadays house residences and offices.
Liston is the center where, the Corfiots meet during their social exits since it was created, while it is there that on Good Friday, the famous procession of the Epitaphs, one of the traditional customs of the Corfiot Easter, takes place. The cobble-paved Liston serves also as the main entrance to the narrow alleyways of the Old City of Corfu.
It is not confirmed from where, its peculiar name derives. Some scholars support that Liston means on list, «on the list», meaning in Libro d’ Oro where, the names of the nobles and the aristocrats of Corfu were written and they were the only ones who had the right to enjoy their stroll on this promenade. But, in the Venetian dialect «lista» means «a wide and straight walking road», while we see «Liston» and in other Venetian cities, for example in Venice. So it is possible that Liston owes this name to this tradition.
The magnificent Spianada, the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, the church of Agios Spyridonas which is very close, and all the Venetian edifices that surround Liston, make it one of the greatest sights of Corfu . During Easter you will see the numerous lanterns in Liston emit purple, mournful color throughout the entire Holy Week. Have a seat in the coffee shops and enjoy the Corfiot sweets, the koum-kouat or the Corfiot tsitsimpyra, while next to you, in Spianada, an exciting cricket match is underway!