The village of Spartilas nestles at the height of 400m under the looming peak of Mount Pantokrator. Visiting the village you will find that apart from breathtaking views and small narrow paths and passageways, the traditional architecture of the houses with old marble staircases and arched gateways that lead you into overgrown gardens is preserved. Some houses have been restored with new techniques and materials but without loosing their traditional style.
Like many of Corfu’s settlements when it was built, before the petrol age, villagers relied on donkeys for transport, so the alleys, winding between the houses, are narrow, just wide enough for a donkey and its panniers. Still today you may be treated to a glimpse of the past as a donkey guided by its owner meanders slowly down the street carrying its burden of wood or hay. With fewer donkeys around, the alleys have been taken over by flowers, spilling from balconies and pots & ancient grapevines, that have spread their shade and even without any treatment they are productive.
Nowdays most walkers who pass through Spartilas are hiking the Corfu trail. For the Corfu trailers, the village marks the start of the real mountain territory, as they leave the lowlands behind and head for the Pantokrator summit.
The old coffee shop, set in a time warp, is a place where gentlemen pass an hour or two discussing politics while drinking their ouzo. The churches, another essential feature of Spartilas village, are, as in the rest of Corfu island, well maintained and well attended.
Traditionally, walls were lime-washed with the addition of natural tints, a practice still followed today by those wishing to preserve the integrity of older buildings. There are staircases of old marble, and arched gateways that lead into overgrown gardens. A Venetian chimney rends the sky, and old olive-crushing millstones bear witness to the village’s agricultural past. Settlements like Spartilas village resemble living museums – but some people, restoring their old house, have used techniques and materials that are not in keeping with the traditional style.
Because of its wonderful view, Spartilas is known as the ‘Window on Corfu’. Its views stretch as far as Paxos and on a really clear day, Lefkada can be also be seen. Set between the mountain and the sea, and oriented south, it enjoys a mild climate, neither too hot nor too cold.
Spartilas is gaining a small population of foreigners, still not discovered but with wondeful people, views and old-style residences…