The house of the first Governor of Greece
Who would have thought that this pink-coated, typical Corfiot country home would transform into a museum dedicated to the significant historical figure that grew up within its walls? The classical 18th century building nestled amid the lush greens and cobbled gardens makes for a unique museum experience. Its Ionian features and scenic surroundings build an unexpectedly cozy residence to the esteemed Ioannis A. Kapodistrias – the first Governor of Greece.
Founded in 1981, the idea of Kapodistrias Museum was first conceived when Ioannis’ great grandniece, Maria Kapodistria, bequeathed the estate to three societies. Despite accepting the mission of curating and exhibiting the personal effects and period furniture of the family, the cultural organizations of the Reading Society of Corfu, the Philharmonic Society of Corfu, and the Society of Corfiote Studies did not have sufficient funds to uphold the museum.
While the estate was declared as a listed monument in 1995, followed by renovations and reopening of its galleries, only in 2007 did it receive sufficient funding to run on a day-to-day basis. Corfiot benefactor, Christos Fokas, donated a significant amount annually to enable the development of the museum and subsequent Center for Kapodistrian Studies. Now, Kapodistrias Museum has fostered relationships with other educational organizations, successfully establishing a digital archive concerning the work of Ioannis Kapodistrias.
Visit the site for a comprehensive look at this man’s legacy. By detailing Ioannis’ role in shaping the European balances of early 19th century, the museum is an indirect documentary on Corfu, Europe and modern Greece history. The permanent exhibition presents a chronological walk through Ioannis’ career, where visitors can skim through various personal letters and government documents that refer to his work within the Septinsular Republic. Incorporation of digital media also seeks to enhance your experience, impressing on you the sheer scale of his political accomplishments.
You will find that the museum is home to approximately 400 items, all of which center around Ioannis Kapodistrias and his family. Fittingly, a large part of the collection came from Maria Kapodistria, most of which were donated family heirlooms. Rounding off the exhibits is a range of personal items, honorary gifts, book and art collections, medals and household artifacts from the Kapodistrian period. You may also learn that the Kapodistrias family as a whole was major political players in Corfu. In fact, Maria Kapodistria was the first female mayor in Greece, holding office between 1956 and 1959.
The key to unravelling a city is to learn about their significant historical leaders and their contributions. Where royalty and colonial powers played bigger roles in shaping the island during earlier centuries, Ioannis Kapodistrias is a powerful figure in modern European diplomacy. Get a grasp of Corfu’s shifting place in European politics through the eyes of someone in the game.
When you’re done exploring the museum, spend some time at the museum café for some splendid views! You can reach the museum by bus from Corfu Town in only 20 minutes. Alternatively, there are a few parking spaces out front for those who are driving.