Inside the Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

As promised, we are touring the inside of the Achilleion Palace today, located in  Gastouri, on the island of Corfu, Greece. This palace was built for the Empress of Austria, Elisabeth of Bavaria, known as Sisi. If you would like to follow along with the background of Sisi’s life, start HERE. It makes for a very interesting read and gives you a glimpse of what was going on in Sisi’s life at the time. The architectural style of the palace was intended to represent an ancient palace of mythical Phaeacia. The palace was designed with the hero Achilles of Greek mythology as its central theme. Corfu was Sisi’s favorite vacation spot and she wanted a palace to acknowledge her admiration for Greece, its language and its culture. She also wanted a place to get away from it all! Achilles could be found throughout the palace and the gardens surrounding it. The paintings and statues of Achilles depicted contrasting heroic and tragic scenes of the Trojan War.

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

The ceiling painting by Vincenzo Galloppi at the main entrance was outstanding. It was all pinks, lavenders and Greek everything, including more gods and goddesses!!

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

The chapel was beautiful……..

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

and so intricate……….lots of muted color here………….

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece
Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

Now we’re headed upstairs…….more statues to admire. These two guard the staircase………

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece
Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

and what a staircase it is! It goes up and up and up…….. How about the gods and goddesses holding up the ceiling?

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

And another one up there…………

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

Up close and personal we go………one has a big smile on his face………

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

Then there was the green room………..more gods and goddesses to be found on the fireplace mantlepiece…………and in the paintings.

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

And the cherubs are frolicking……….

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

You must look at the ceiling rail……….

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

with the bunnies……..and other creatures……………..

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

one must also have a piece along the wall too……..

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

in another beautiful room of peach…..

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece
The Triumph of Achilles by Franz von Matsch is a panoramic fresco in the main hall in the upper level. Achilles drags Hector’s lifeless body to the Gates of Troy. 
Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

Finally a good look at Sisi. She refused to sit for any more portraits after the age of 30……..because she thought she was losing her youthful looks……………Notice her itsy bitsy waist of 18 inches after the birth of four children….. She worked out feverishly daily and had steaks put on her face for moisturizers and it took her maids three hours a day to coif her long, long hair………

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

While we were there a real life goddess was being photographed. There was nothing under that skimpy white cloth that was slit up both sides. Needless to say, she was as fascinating as the tour!

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

As with most old properties Achilleion has seen its fair share of modifications over the years.

After Sisi’s death the palace was inherited by her daughter, Gisela, but was not used often. German Kaiser Wilhelm II purchased Achilleion in 1907 and used it as a summer residence. He also hired Carl Ludwig Sprenger, a renowned botanist, to come and live in the palace for three months of the year starting at the Easter season, so he could enjoy the local festivities and cultural events. And probably get that garden tidied up!

I hope you looked at the gardens of Archelleion because Wilhelm expanded on the main theme of the grounds and commissioned his own Achilles statue by the sculptor Johannes Götz.  This huge bronze sculpture stands as the guardian of the garden and faces north towards the city. At the base of the statue the dedication read: To the Greatest Greek from the Greatest German. After the war the inscription was removed.

Achilleion Palace, Corfu, Greece

During WWI, the palace was used as a military hospital by  French and Serbian troops. From 1921 to 1924, it housed Armenian orphans from Constantinople and all the remaining artifacts were auctioned off. Then in WWII the axis powers used the palace as a military headquarters.

In 1962 the Achilleion was leased to a private company that converted the upper level into a casino and the lower rooms into a museum. In 1983 the lease was terminated and the Palace was returned to the Hellenic Tourism Development Company under the Greek National Tourism Organization. Thank goodness because they have quite a treasure here!

See you tomorrow in the Historic district of Corfu! Won’t you join me?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Marie says:

    Wow. I want to go there. 🙂

    Like

  2. Three hours for maids to coif her hair?! And fresh steaks on her face? If I were try that trick, I’d been eaten up in the night by — you guessed it! — Charlie, my cocky Cocker Spaniel. But if the statue of Sisi is as truthful as the artist intended, Sisi was a classic beauty. Gotta hand it to the Greeks.

    Like

    1. Yes she was obsessive about her looks! When we were in Vienna one year we toured the Royal Palace and saw her workout gym.

      Like

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