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 “volta” by the locals, now house numerous coffee shops and restaurants, making Liston the center of Corfu life for locals and visitors.
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 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.
Have a seat in the coffee shops in Liston and enjoy the corfiot sweets, the Koum-kouat or the Corfiot tsitsimpyra, while next to you, in Spianada, an exciting cricket match is underway!