Francesco’s Mediterranean Voyage 18 June 2022: Saturday on BBC Four
Corfu and Greece – Episode 5 of 12 – Architect and historian Francesco da Mosto embarks on a journey across the Mediterranean sea. As Francesco and the crew of the Black Swan enter Greek waters, the boat is making the fastest headway since leaving Venice on the long voyage to Istanbul. But disaster strikes as the mainsail rips and they limp into the next port, the island of Corfu. Corfu has more relics of British rule than Venetian, and Francesco is soon drawn into a game of cricket on the island’s best cricket pitch.
In the romantic setting of the British Garden Cemetery there are many reminders of British occupation. And Corfu is the island setting of the hugely popular novel, My Family and Other Animals. Author Gerald Durrell is long since dead, but his good friend David Bellamy is there to point Francesco in the direction of the island’s animal life. While the Black Swan puts in for repairs Francesco takes the ferry to the Greek coast and heads inland. His first stop is the surprising town of Ioannina – a little bit of Turkey in the middle of Greece. Once it was the stronghold of the evil Ali Pasha whose cruelty was the talk of Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. But peace and hope is restored as Francesco ascends the incredible mountain realm of Meteora – a sacred kingdom in the clouds. Here ancient monasteries perch perilously on the mountaintops with, seemingly, no way to get up to them. Inside are some of the least seen but most brilliant frescoes of the medieval age.
The Gulf of Corinth – Episode 6 of 12 – Architect and historian Francesco da Mosto embarks on a journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Amidst a sea of dolphins, The Black Swan enters the Gulf of Corinth off the coast of Greece as Francesco continues his voyage from Venice to Istanbul. The boat must manoeuvre under the Rio Antirio bridge and then navigate the narrow Corinth Canal, which separates mainland Greece from the Peloponnese.
At Mount Parnassus, Francesco visits the mystical site of the great Delphic Oracle, the greatest prophetess of the ancient world. She would talk in riddles but her pronouncements determined everything from events of state to romance and marriage. Mount Parnassus was also home to the Pythian games, forerunners of the modern Olympic Games.
Next stop is Athens. Often dismissed as a busy, noisy and overcrowded city, the Greeks prefer to see Athens as the biggest village in the country. Athens was the capital of the ancient Classical world and home to the Acropolis. Birthplace of western art, it is also the site of one of Venice’s greatest atrocities against art and culture – an attack on the sacred temple of Parthenon that almost destroyed it. The attack also resulted in a massive loss of human life. Francesco sees the damage from the 700 cannonballs, still evident today. Francesco also has a date in Athens – the woman with the greatest singing voice ever to emerge from Greece – Nana Mouskouri. As they stroll through the romantic setting of Athens’s National Gardens, can Francesco persuade Nana to serenade him?
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About Francesco’s Mediterranean Voyage
Architect and historian Francesco da Mosto embarks on a journey to cross the Mediterranean sea
This show is broadcast on BBC Four, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.
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