Corfu: the fortifications

Corfu played a key role in the expansion plans of the Kingdom of Naples in the XIth and XIIth centuries.

First the Normans, then the Angevins occupied the island and used it as a base for their expeditions against Constantinople. At the end of the Angevin domination the Genoese occupied the island for a short period of time, but were expelled by the Venetian admiral Giovanni Miani.

The lion banner of St Mark was hoisted over the city in May 1386 and in 1401 Ladislas, King of Naples formally sold the island to the Venetians. The Venetians strengthened the two fortresses which protected the small medieval town: the site of Corcyra, the ancient residence of King Alcinous who welcomed Ulysses and granted him safe passage to Ithaca, was located a few miles to the south of the medieval town. The Venetians called the island of Corfu Gateway to the Gulf as it controlled the maritime route giving access to the Adriatic Sea.

Venice claimed her own sovereign rights over the whole sea which was also called Gulf of Venice. Corfu lies parallel to the shore of mainland Greece: the town is located in a central position from which it controls the whole channel between the island and the continent. In order to upgrade the fortifications to the development of cannon, the Venetians built some round bastions.

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Some of the images in this article.

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Roberto Piperno - romeartlover.tripod.com

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