A stroll around the Old Town on Corfu will either start or end at the famous Liston next to the main Esplanade. Closely linked to the history of the island, it is a landmark and the most photographed place in the town as well as a meeting point throughout the day.
So what is famous about Liston? It is an impressive residential estate which was constructed during the Second French Occupation of the island (1807-1814). It was intended as a landmark for the aristocracy of Old Corfu and according to legend, only the gentry of the time were allowed to walk on the street (today known as Eleftherias Avenue).
It was designed by the French engineer, Mathieu de Lesseps, father of the builder of the Suez Canal and it was built to the standards of the famous rue de Rivoli in Paris. The Greek engineer, Ioannis Parmezan collaborated in the construction. The Arches were expanded and floors were gradually added under the English Commissioner (1815-1864), and are now home to residences and offices.
The building was first used as a French barracks and then operated as a hotel and even hosted great figures. Today Liston is the most secular point on Corfu. You can enjoy coffee, food or a drink in nearby establishments. At Easter it is the reference point for the town's Philharmonic parade and the town's Litany of Agios Spyridonas. The hanging lanterns and vaulted arches which are lit at night are like an image from another era.