The great square of Corfu Town nowadays owes its name to the Venetian word spianata, a large open space. That was the requirement of Venetian defensive policy: a great level field, long as a musket-shot trajectory,in front of the Old Fortress. This space was formed into a square in the short years of French rule. It was then that the foundations were set for the long Liston building, so much a reminder of the Rue de Rivoli in Paris; but the building was erected with the purpose of providing a little Parisian air to Corfu Town. It is a place where many Corfiots arrange to meet nowadays. Following French rule, the entire square was further improved by the British, who applied
their famous landscape architecture techniques, and also turned the space to the east of the Liston into a cricket pitch. New decorative architectural elements included the Maitland peristyle round the main water cistern for locals – the rotunda that still hosts music concerts and other events – and the small garden of the Boschetto. The construction
of the Palace of the Saints Michael and George on its northern end, built between 1819 and 1823, added a pleasantly neoclassical tone to the architecture of the square.