Tales of the Mani

In 2004 we found the perfect location for our much-dreamed-of house in Greece. Arriving in the famous olive town of Kalamata (on the southern coast of the Peloponnese region) we drove south into the Mani peninsula. What we discovered that holiday, was a magical area of contrasting landscapes and intriguing history. A rugged, unforgiving Mediterranean coastline anterior to the majestic Taygetos mountains with their verdant foothills, stepped with olive groves and connected by networks of kalderimi (cobbled pathways).

The outer Mani is home to popular villages (Kardamili, Stoupa and Agios Nikolaos) colonised by tourists each summer. Receding from the sea's edge, the area is dotted with now peaceful Maniot hamlets with their symbolic towers, fortified dwellings that once defended it's feudal people, secluded and tucked away in hidden corners or perched high, a look-out across the sea. Abandoned monastries, dozens of Byzantine churches, ancient settlements and stories of piracy and savage feuds captured our imagination. Along with the allure of beautiful beaches and turquoise sea, the local food and the friendly, relaxed atmosphere - we were smitten!

For several years before, we had spent our summers in and around the city of Nafplion in the Argolid region of the Peloponnese). As much as we loved that area it didn't have quite the drama and impact that we experienced on arrival in the Mani. So, that May (2004) we began our search for the little house... returning that August to meet property consultant, and now friend, Susan Shimmin.


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