One of the most central and famous places of the Corfu island is Liston.

The impressive architecture and the characteristic arches makes it one of the most important sights, not only at the island of Corfu but also in Greece.

The pedestrian street of Liston, is located at the end of Spianada, the main square of the island and the largest in the Balkans and is also the main entrance to the famous narrow cantons of Corfu Old Town. Next to it, there is a large area with grass where cricket matches and other events take place from time to time.

Around it, there are many sights that a visitor can admire and explore, the Palace of St. Michael and St. George , the Museum of Asian Art, the Old Fortress and of course the Holy and Miraculous Church Of Agios Spyridon.

Pentofanaro, is a lantern column with five lamps at the beginning of Liston . The most characteristic meeting point of the locals… “See you at Pentofanaro”.

The walk along the arches, are known among the locals as "peratzada" has the meaning of "strolling". Nowadays house a number of cafes and restaurants, which make Liston the center of Corfu life for locals and visitors.

During the Easter period, the lanterns that decorate all the arches are lit with purple color, a color that is characterized as a mourning color and it remains throughout the Holy Week. Liston is also one of the meeting points of the great Holy procession of Epitaphs of the Holy Week.The traditions and customs of Corfu Easter are worldwide known and Corfu is considered to be one of the best places to visit during Easter.

Also, one cannot fail to mention the custom of the First Resurrection on Holy Saturday where there is a tradition where locals throw the famous pots, from the balconies and windows of Liston, and the area around it, that are decorated with dark red cloths, a tradition that is continues all around the balconies and yards of the villages of Corfu island. This tradition symbolizes the let go of everything bad and the welcoming of the new.

Its history and its name

When one first hears the word “Liston”, one’s mind goes to the word “list”. Some scholars argue that Liston means on list, meaning “on the list”, at Libro d’ Oro that is, where the names of the nobles and aristocrats of Corfu were written, and who only had the right to enjoy their walk on this pedestrian street. But the story of Liston’s origins seems to be different.

The Liston of Corfu began to be built in the first decade of the 19th century by the French commissioner Mathieu de Lesseps and its construction took several decades. The design and pattern are the same as the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. The name Liston appears in sources only in the late 19th century and early twentieth. Leonidas Stanellos, in his book “The Liston of Corfu”, states: “In the Venetian dialect the word” liston “, as well as the word” lista “and” lizza “have the same meaning as the words “striscia, stricca”.

“These words mean a piece of any material whose length is greater than its width.”

Also, In Corfu, the name “liston” has existed since the 18th century, regarding the wooden construction -liston- that was made for the needs of the “ingresso” ceremony which was the arrival ceremony of a new Prophet. With the official name Provider (or Provider) was given to the Greek language the Venetian title – office of Proveditore “an office held by various senior officials of the Most Peaceful Republic of Venice appointed by the” Grand Council “with various responsibilities, municipal and ecclesiastical issues.

This construction was erected on the road that connects the Old Fortress with the city, that is, along the current V. Dousmani Street. So if the specific street was combined with the name “liston”, this would be done through the reference to the wooden construction of “ingresso”.

According to Giovanni Rapelli, author of The City of Verona’s Handbook of Toponyms, in the Venetian dialect “lista” was a section of street in front of an ambassador’s residence bordered by white plaques. Anyone inside the demarcated area enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

A reference to such a place name is the Lista di Spagna in Venice, which takes its name from the Spanish embassy that once stood on this street. Over time, the word liston became synonymous with white slabs, and we find the first Venice liston in Campo San Stefano, a meeting place of nobles as early as the 16th century, which at that time it was covered with grass and only a paved strip in the center of the square allowed the walk.

The Venetians did not take long to adopt the word liston, identifying this promenade with the typical white plaques. Over the years the term took on the meaning of “central space for walking”.

In any case, whoever visits Corfu will also pass by this famous pedestrian street, taking some of the glamor of the aristocracy that exudes.


IONAS, Spyros. The origin of the name “Liston”,

Mixani tou xronou. An impressive flight over “Liston” in Corfu. From where it got its name and why it was considered a promenade only for nobles (drone video)


Text Editor: Ada Kyriazi
Photography: Eddie Kastamoniti
Translation - Text Editor: Marilia Makri
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