It is located on the western edge of Spianada, the large square and is bordered by mansions that form large arches, on their top floor. These arches, which Corfu citizens call walks, counts a number of cafe and restaurants, making Liston the centre of Corfu life for locals and visitors alike.
Later the remaining floors were added and the largest part of the building was converted into luxury hotels, such as the “Hotel of England and Venice” also known as “Bella Venezia”. In their rooms were hosted prominent personalities, both from Greece and abroad, such as Konstantinos Kavafis and Dionysios Solomos.
The architectural complex that makes up Liston was built during the French occupation of the island (1807-1814) by Matthieu de Lesseps and imitates the rue de Rivoli in Paris, while the Greek engineer Ioannis Parmesan helped in its design. During the period of the British Commission (1815-1864), the arches were extended and the floors were gradually added, on which houses and offices are located today.
Liston is the centre where Corfu citizens meet during their social outings since it was created, while the famous Epitaph procession on Holy Friday, one of the traditional customs of Corfu Easter, takes place there. The cobbled Liston is also the main entrance to the narrow alleyways of Corfu’s Old Town.
It’s strange name has not been confirmed where it originated. Some scholars claim that Liston means on list, meaning “on the list”, in the Libro d’Oro, where the names of the nobles and aristocrats of Corfu were written, and who only had the right to enjoy a walk along this pedestrian street. In the Venetian dialect, however, ‘lista’ means ‘wide and straight promenade’, while ‘Liston’ is also found in other Venetian cities, such as Venice. It is therefore possible that Liston owes its name to this tradition.
The magnificent Spianada, the Palace, the church of Saint Spyridon which is very close and all the Venetian buildings surrounding Liston, make it one of the most important sights of Corfu. During the Easter period, you will see the countless lanterns in Liston giving off a purple, mournful colour throughout Holy Week. Take your coffee in the cafes and enjoy Corfiot sweets, kumquat or Corfiot ginger beer, while next door, in Spianada, an exciting cricket match will be in progress!