Christina Martini’s perfect weekend in Corfu Town

Inspired by myth, age-old crafts and cobbled streets, Ancient Greek Sandals’ co-founder has breathed new beauty into summer footwear, marrying local traditions with modern attitude

Christina Martini in Corfu Town
Christina Martini in Corfu Town | Image: Yannis Bournias

“We live about 10km from Corfu Town in an old stone house that used to be an olive press. It belongs to my husband Apostolos’ family and we moved here from Paris to raise our children. We have chickens and goats, so we’ve transformed it from a summerhouse into a little farm.

On Saturday mornings I head straight into Corfu Town, to my favourite roastery, Cafe Tierra. I’ve been coming here for a long time for my morning coffee and to buy ground beans for the week – it’s very small, but you can sit outside in the sun in nearby Spianada Square. Then I’ll have a pedicure at a stylish little place called Fab Beauty Bar. Normally, salons in Greece are busy and loud, but this new one is quite hidden away in the Old Town; it’s peaceful and they play good music. 

I’ll pop into Mezzo Mezzo, a brilliant multibrand store that sells labels like Mary Katrantzou, Comme des Garçons and Cult Gaia. It used to be a house and still has the large stone bread oven. We have a sandal pop-up there, too, so I check in on that, but really it’s an excuse to shop; I never leave empty handed.

I also like to look in Myrto Zirini Ceramics – she makes clay pots and little cups with really bright colours on the inside. They are organic and minimal – and really beautiful.

Then I’ll meet Apostolos, my seven-year-old son Stefanos and five-year-old daughter Daphne for lunch at To Tavernaki tis Marinas in the Jewish quarter of the Old Town. It serves typical local dishes – it’s like eating at your mother’s house. I’ll have rooster pastitsado, which has a sauce made with red wine and a secret mix of spices; it’s served with pasta and is really amazing. I also love the fresh vegetable salads with local cheese. 

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We often visit Plous bookstore, a small but inspiring store where the children choose a book for the week, and then go to an old café called Spathis on the Esplanade, where there is a walkway with a beautiful French-style colonnade based on the Rue de Rivoli. We drink coffee while the children have ice creams and play on an old cricket field that was built here by the British. 

Salto in Corfu Town is a lovely place to spend the evening. It’s a small, intimate restaurant with a good selection of local wines and delicious tapas to share, such as fava beans with capers and caramelised onion “chips”. It also does platters of hard-to-find Greek cheeses and cold cuts such as noumboulo, a traditional smoked sausage. Then sometimes we go for cocktails at Naok Azur, which is at the top of a sailing club and has a huge balcony facing the sea – it’s the perfect place in summer for a drink and a dance.

We tend to sleep later on Sunday, make a big breakfast using eggs from our chickens, then have friends over. We all cook lunch together – usually roasted meat with a salad of greens from our garden; or I’ll make a spinach pie. Later on, more friends will join us for coffee, often with some of the macarons that I love from Cake Boutique in Corfu Town.

We have inherited a vintage Boston Whaler motor boat so if it’s just us on Sunday, we’ll go on an excursion. We’ll have a swim and then stop in an old fishing village called Benitses, which is quite touristy but has one the best restaurants in Corfu: Klimataria. The house speciality is bianco, a fish dish with a lemony white sauce.

We could also sail to Erimitis, on the northeast coast of the island, which you can’t reach by car – it has the most amazing blue waters and beaches that are backed by olive groves. Or we’ll head northwest to the Diapontia Islands, which very few people know, before returning home, exhausted, for wine on the veranda once the children are both in bed.”

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