Saturday, December 9, 2023

Mon Repos

Where the late Prince Philip was born. From The Greek Reporter:

King Charles’ father, Prince Philip, who died in 2021 at the age of 99, was born on the dining room table of the villa Mon Repos situated on the coast Corfu island in Greece. The villa’s French name means “My Rest,” and was a place of rest for the Greek Royals in the past century. Mon Repos now operates as a small museum under the municipality of Corfu. The permanent display is spread over fourteen galleries. Aspects of the history of the building and the ancient monuments in the surrounding area are presented through authentic objects and visual aids.

Recently, the birth certificate of Prince Philip, the consort of Queen Elizabeth, was unearthed from the municipal archive of Corfu close to Mon Repos. The certificate is written in Katharevousa, the official version of Greek at the time, which resembles ancient Greek more than the demotic language Greeks speak among themselves. (Read more.)

Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, called "Sisi" loved Greek culture and had a villa on the island of Corfu as well. From En-Vols:

Since the early 1860s, Elisabeth of Austria (1837–1898) had been passionate about Hellenic culture. When she settled on the island of Corfu in 1891, many dramas had marked her life. In 1857, her first daughter died at the age of two and, in 1890, her eldest son, the heir to the throne, died in circumstances that have never been explained. The couple she formed with Emperor Franz Joseph was now nothing but a façade.

She traveled through Europe for many months before finding refuge on the island of the Phaeacians depicted by Homer in The Odyssey. Besotted with beauty, she hoped to soothe her troubled soul in Corfu, far from the Court of Hapsburg’s intrigues. She asked Italian architect Raffaele Caritto to build an enormous villa. She christened it Achilleion, in tribute to the Trojan War’s tragic figure, Achilles.

All in white marble, Achilleion is a vast neoclassical villa in the Pompeian style. From the terrace, your eyes take in cliffs with lush vegetation tumbling down towards the emerald-coloured sea. The palace consists of 128 rooms spread over a ground floor and two upper floors. However, the empress only occupied the first floor, leaving the other two floors to Emperor Franz Joseph and archduchess Marie Valerie, their youngest daughter. Incidentally, only the ground floor is still visited today. On entering, you are welcomed by a portrait of Sisi by German painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter.

In a monumental entrance hall, the ceiling is covered with a fresco by the Italian Galoppi, The Four Seasons and the Horae. To the left of the staircase inspired by the Opera Garnier, the blue walls of the empress’ dining room are decorated with stucco cherubs. Hanging on the walls of her villa, many paintings recall the most heroic scenes from the Iliad. Around her bed, most of the pieces of furniture are inlaid with Hellenic motifs. (Read more.)




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