Casa Parlante fits so perfectly to the atmosphere of Corfu that it seems strange to have opened to the public just a year ago, in March 2014. This living history museum is housed in a 19th century mansion in the Old Town of Corfu, just few steps from Liston and Spianada Square, and shows the daily life of a noble family of that era. With animated robotic figures, old furniture, proper clothing, real sounds and smells, Casa Parlante enters visitors into another world. Greeka.com talked to Theodora Efthimiou, one of the two founders of this interesting museum, whose creation was in fact awarded the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award in 2013.
Mrs Efthimiou, how did you have the idea to create such a museum in Corfu?
First of all, let me tell you that me and Mrs Kaiti Rantou are from Corfu. In a way, this fact may probably explain our love for the island and its unique history. If someone walks through the historical center of Corfu Town, he feels overwhelmed by the unique architecture and the general atmosphere that all the history combines, traveling back in time like being in a fairytale's scene.
This specific feeling made us think how it would be if each visitor had the opportunity to walk in a noble's mansion and see how Corfiot nobles were living in the 19th century. We wanted for each visitor to have a complete experience, bringing the past back to life. The 19th century was unique for the culture and the economical progress that Corfu had, because of the island's European bonds.
How did you collect the furniture and items of daily use that are exhibited in Casa Parlante?
Some of the furniture belonged to our family. All the other original unique pieces that we managed to gather were actually bought.
Did you cooperate with a special historian for the creation of this museum or did you do some personal research yourself?
All historical research was made by me, because I wished to have an active role in this specific exceptional part of Casa Parlante's creation.
How were the robotic figures created?
The human figures were actually created after a historical search we made, according to the archive material we had obtained, such as photos, written descriptions, etc, regarding the natural characteristics of comfits. They actually came to life by two great Greek artists, known for their special effects and creations in Greece and abroad. As far as the robotic technology is concerned, the above mentioned artists collaborated with a Greek robotic technology expert, who lives and works in Great Britain.
How many years did you actually need to create this museum?
We needed a year just for the creation. Of course, the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award helped us very much by giving us the support we needed. As far as the concept is concerned, that goes at least three years back.
How many visitors did you receive this past year and which was the feedback you received?
We are open for a year now (this is our second year) and already we managed to achieve a goal of over 5.000 visitors. We are happy to have a very positive feedback from our visitors, locals and foreigners, and we do our best to please each and every one of them when they visit Casa Parlante.