The first episode of ITV’s six part drama ‘The Durrells’, based on the memoirs of Gerald Durrell, attracted an audience of over six million viewers and has received excellent reviews. It makes wonderful Sunday evening viewing, when you can relax with a glass of wine and escape to the sun-clad terraces and azure coves of Corfu. The island is a stunning backdrop for the drama and makes compelling viewing. It is easy to see why Gerald Durrell wrote ‘Gradually the magic of the island settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen’
The locations used for filming ‘The Durrells’ are all easily accessible from Villa Petalutha. Travelling north along the coast road from Barbati, you can visit Kalami and the White House, once home to Lawrence Durrell and now an excellent taverna. Further north, you will find Agios Spiridon beach and the ‘Lake of Lillies’. A walk south along the coastal path from Kalami towards Agni bay, will take you past the waterside shrine of St. Arsenius, a favourite swimming spot of Lawrence Durrell and his wife Nancy. Head inland amongst the ancient olive groves above Barbati, just below Villa Petalutha, to experience the true delights that captivated Gerald Durrell. A feast for all the senses, you will experience hosts of beautiful butterflies, fireflies, tortoises and lizards, the smell of wild sage and oregano and a cacophony of sounds from the call of the scops owl to the shrill droning of the cicadas. If you visit in springtime, there are extra rewards as the hills are carpeted with wild flowers and the fruit trees are laden with blossom. South of Corfu town, which in itself is worthy of at least a day’s exploration, you will find Perama, the location of the ‘Strawberry Villa’, the first home of the Durrells.
Not only will you experience the beauty of the landscape but also the ‘filoxenia’, the tremendous hospitality of the Corfiot people. Their warmth, generosity and kindness was experienced by the Durrells in the 1930’s and it still remains intact, proudly displayed in their welcome of visitors to their beautiful island.