Corfiot Italians - Venetian Heritage

Venetian Heritage

The Republic of Venice dominated Corfu for nearly five centuries until 1797. Although assailed several times by Turkish naval and land forces and subjected to four notable sieges in 1537, 1571, 1573 and 1716, in which the great natural strength of the city and its defenders asserted itself time after time. The effectiveness of the powerful Venetian fortifications of the island was a great factor that enabled Corfu to remain the last bastion of free, uninterrupted Greek and Christian civilization in the southern Balkans after the fall of Constantinople. Will Durant, an American historian, claims that Corfu owed to the Republic of Venice the fact that it was the only part of Greece never conquered by the Muslim Turks. The Turks occupied briefly some of the other Ionian islands, but were unsuccessful with their four sieges of Corfu. This fact gave Corfu and Malta the title of "Bastions of Christian Europe" during the late Renaissance.

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... During Venetian rule, the Corfiotes developed a fervent appreciation of Italian opera, which was the real source of the extraordinary (given conditions in the mainland of Greece) musical development of the island ...

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