The old coffee shop, set in a time warp, is a place where gentlemen pass an hour or two discussing politics while knocking back an ouzo or two. The churches, another essential feature of Spartilas village
life, are, as in the rest of Corfu island, well maintained and well attended. Everywhere you look, architectural features catch the eye. Sandstone arches lead to a storeroom under a'bodzo' - a first floor balcony which gives access to the living quarters. On the walls, stucco is painted with multiple layers of colour, peeling and faded.
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. Ugly red roof tiles stand out in the huddle of the authentic roofs of old ochre. uPVC doors and windows with white plastic shutters clash with the classic green-painted double-opening front doors and the plain but pretty folding wooden shutters. Because of its wonderful view, Spartilas
is known as the 'Window on Corfu'. Vistas stretch as far as Paxos
and, on a really clear day, Lefkada can be made out. Set between the mountain and the sea, and oriented south, it enjoys a mild climate, neither too hot nor too cold.
It's a climate that many new residents are enjoying, for Spartilas
is gaining a small but growing population of foreign residents who have bought old houses for holidays or full-time living. Many have lovingly restored their old village house, restoration which, carried out with an eye for preserving the charm of this lovely village, are an asset for the local population and a source of admiration for those that visit.