It was one of our last days in Kerkyra/Corfu in Greece and we used the day for a spontaneous trip to Gastouri. The name is not that famous for its village but for a house or better palace. The palace is called Villa Achillion.
The villa was once built by Empress of Austria Elisabeth of Bavaria, shortly known as Sissi, one of the most beautiful women ever I would say.
Gastouri is about 10 kilometers south from Corfu city and the Empress built the Villa after suggestion by an Austrian consul. She always struggled with her health and the warm and dry weather in the Mediterranean area always did good to her.
We were ‘welcomed’ by a big crowd of tourists on this very hot summer day (around 42°C). Immediately after the entrance gate we saw the main entrance of the Achillion Palace with its big columns of white marble.
The Villa Achillion presents a typical architecture style of the late 19th century and the main theme was the hero and half god Achilles – also seen in the wide, beautiful gardens as a statue.
Sissi spoke perfectly Greek and wanted to immerse more in the culture of the country. And for sure go away from her sad reminding home in Austria as well. Only a year ago her son killed himself together with his mistress. For her it was the lost of the only son, for her husband an insecure future without an heir.
Inside the palace every single room is so much decorated as one would expect by a palace. Marble in different colors, paintings in bright, shining colors on the walls and ceilings, gold wherever possible.
I liked very much the old furniture as they always remind me of my grand-mother’s home (not a palace but a villa of once a rich and known family). Even the smell of it is so similar. I liked the big wooden drawer with the mirror. As one can notice: it was real summer and only well tainted people walking around.
The palace was built on a property of a Greek diplomat and philosopher, Petros Vrailas Armenis, and designed by the Italian architect Raffaele Caritto. The area is about 200.000 m² and a German sculptor, Ernst Herter, created the Greek mythology inspired art works. Of course the theme, Achilles, is the center figure of all.
The architecture of the palace is Pompeian and Russian imperial style. From the gardens there is a beautiful view on the valleys, the Ionian Sea and the surrounding landscapes and villages.
Beautiful in every detail I loved the walk outside into the gardens. The sculptors of Greek philosophers and the walk is so relaxing and beautiful.
Also, the garden is full of flowers, water fountaines and nice places where to sit and think or just enjoy the calm. I don’t know where the people were in that moment but I felt nearly alone. Closing my eyes I heard long, wide gowns shuffling on the floor, whispering voices of ladies and some music from inside the villa. Oh, yeah, of course I was dreaming…
I loved the place and I would always recommend. The only thing that is a little bit concerning are the many people here during summer time. In winter, it must be much more calm.. but maybe also less beautiful because of less nature blossom.
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