Undoubtedly, Corfu’s most distinguished offspring and one of the most important political personalities of Greece, has been Ioannis Capodistrias, whose name is associated with the Greek independence and recorded in history as the founder of the modern Greek State. Being included among the most significant politicians and diplomats of Europe, and with a brilliant career as a Greek statesman and Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire, he was appointed first Governor of newly liberated Hellenic state in 1827, a position he held for 4 years until his assassination in 1831. It’s on his birthplace, the gorgeous Ionian island of Corfu, where Capodistrias ‘ vision and service are honoured with a museum that’s established and operates on the cottage house where he stayed for a short period of his youth. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the great story of an important personality and at the same time explore a part of Corfiot and modern Greek history.
Situated in the area of Koukouritsa estate, near the village Evroupoli and only 7km away from the old town and port of Corfu, the beautiful country house in dusty pink shades, is characteristic of the 18th century Corfiot countryside architecture. It’s literally hidden among the luscious garden of the 13-acre Capodistrias family estate, whose serenity you will enjoy as much as the visit to the museum itself. In fact, the whole of Koukouritsa estate has been included in the Listing of Historic Buildings since 1995, underlining the significance of the area as a compound of natural beauty and man-made creation.
The beautiful cottage that now houses the interesting museum is a lovely, elegant building, with a columned porch and a tile covered roof. The pink walls and green windows match perfectly the surrounding environs with the vibrant flowers and the leafy trees. Inside, the collection carries us through the most important events of Count Capodistrias’ diplomatic and political career.
The exhibition begins with a timeline of the milestones in Capodistias’ life, while through all rooms a collection of 400 items give us an insight of various aspects of his journey from Corfu where he was born in 1776, to Padua where he studied, to Russia and his diplomatic career, to Switzerland where he retired from Czar Alexander I’s court and then back to Greece. A remarkable selection of personal items and family heirlooms are presented in their original environs, in rooms decorated with original furniture, artworks, miniature portraits and paintings. Among them, the one that stands out is a portrait of Capodistrias at the age of 38, which he sent as a gift from Russia to his family.
You should also take a careful look at the detailed family tree that is hung above the fireplace in the living room. In the governor’s study room you can see his desk, books, honourable gifts he received and even some personal items, like his reading glasses.
More diplomatic gifts along with medallions, maps, religious icons and a big collection of precious porcelain decorate the beautiful dining room. Most of these memorabilia are demonstrative of his significant political and diplomatic international career, especially between 1816 and 1822 when he held the post of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire.
Finally, in the last room you can observe documents from his service as Greece’s first Governor and a particularly sentimental painting by the great Corfiot artist Ch. Pachis, depicting his assassination for political reasons in Nafplio, in 1831. A helpful audio guide system that’s included in the ticket price provides further useful information about many items exhibited, while in the small museum shop we will find apart from souvenirs, selected publications about this great historic figure.
If you happen to visit the museum during springtime, when a café also operates in the garden, then a refreshing stop for a drink is the best way to conclude your visit. Get information about the cultural events often held in the lovely gardens, wander around to see the statues and smell the endemic plants and the flowers that surround the house. The peaceful landscape boasts stunning views that overlook the sea and stretch all the way to the mountains of Epirus and the old town of Corfu. It’s an environment calm and serene, reflecting the noble personality of such a great man.