For a small island, Zakynthos has a wealth of interesting and important museums that aim to highlight and educate visitors with the historical, traditional and environmental sides of the island. There’s something for everyone and whether you’re interested in learning more for educational purposes, or just wanting to delve further into Zakynthos’s rich culture, history and environment to get a better understanding of it, there’s a great choice of museums for island visitors. This is our third post about Zakynthos museums and it features notable island residents.
The Museum of D. Solomos an A. Kalvos is in St. Marcos Square, Zakynthos Town. Created in 1959 the museum is dedicated to two eminent artists/poets Andreas Kalvos and Dionysios Solomos who were both born at the end of the 1700’s and died in the 1800’s. As well as being the final resting place for their tombs, the museum also highlights some of their work, as well as other notable art, pottery, sculptures, weapons and ancient musical instruments that belonged to wealthy families that used to live on the island. At the entrance to the museum is a sprig of holly. It is rumoured that it came from a holly bush that stood on Strani Hill, a place where Solomos wrote “Ode to liberty”, part of which was used in the Greek National Anthem.
The House of Foscolo is located in Zakynthos Town. This small museum, built in 2016, is dedicated to Zakynthos’ famous Italian poet Ugo Foscolo, who was born on the island in 1778. The Foscolo House is on the site of his original home which has now restored as a replica. There is a small plaque on the wall outside, as well as a monument of a partially seated/laying male figure with wings, on a pedestal, made of white marble; a tribute to the late Ugo Foscolo.
The Museum of Gregory Xenopoulos is located in Zakynthos Town. Born in the 1800’s, Gregory Xenopoulos was an important figure in Greek history as both a playwright and novelist. This small museum is dedicated not only to Xenopoulos, but to his family too. There are many personal items, as well as furniture, that show how the family would have lived, but the highlight is the important collection of writing items that belonged to Gregory Xenopoulos himself, such as photographs, manuscripts and early publications.
Roma Museum (also known as the Mansion of the Roma family) is located in Zakynthos Town. A rarity on the island, the Roma Mansion is one of the few buildings that survived the Great Ionian Earthquake of 1953. Originally built around 1660 by the Vice-Consul of England, the Roma Museum gives visitors a good impression of how the islands aristocracy would have lived. Rooms are large and beautifully decorated. There are many paintings and portraits, as well as a library and weapons. It’s a very different view of Zakynthian past, but one that helps to explain another side of the island, a time overseen by other rulers, politics and wealth
Whichever museum you choose to visit have a great time, you will definitely learn something new about Zakynthos!