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Corfu, Greece

Published on 20/10/17 in In travel

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Lord Byron and the Contessa Albrizzi

Wedged between two cupboards, I was trying to understand what a hundred-year-old lady was telling me in a kitchen in Corfu, in Greece.  Her country home was lost within the valleys of the island, on an estate containing thousands of wild orchids.

Yes, of course, I wanted to learn more about the Contessa Albrizzi, who had been born on Corfu as Isabella Theotoki, and Byron was her frequent guest in Venice as she held the most famous literary salon in the city.

Corfu Venetian villa

My centenarian hostess, whose grandson had taken me by the hand to visit her, did not speak so clearly, had a faulting memory and, naturally, I could not understand how she would have been in a position to have met the contessa, who had been born in 1760.  

But my young friend swore that his grandmother would have something interesting to tell me and took me inside the venetian-style house, entertaining me with that strange mixture of respect and nonchalance that some people have when they are not trapped in their own genealogical tree.  I didn’t manage to make much sense of his grandmother’s whispers, but those whispers did capture my attention and I managed to learn a little bit of the remnants of the old Venetian aristocracy that lived on the island.

corfu town2

Walking on tiptoe along the trail of that narrative, there I was one night in Venice when, returning from a dinner out, I found myself outside the palazzo of Contessa Albrizzi in San Aponal.  In my mind, Byron danced in and out of the darkened door in his black cape and the palazzo was brightly lit by torches.  Unrestrained and full of life as Byron was, it would have been nothing to him to dive into one of the canals and swim to the Palazzo Mocenigo, where he stayed, and he wouldn’t have drowned because he was a most excellent swimmer... An excerpt from the book: My Venice

The e-book My Venice, illustrated with colour images, is available on:

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The e-book Crusing on the OCEAN MAJESTY, illustrated with colour images, is available on:

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