White villages clinging to the rocks that look at you from the top, jagged coastline, the intense light and the sun, crystal clear sea, churches, castles and monasteries, ancient history, warm hospitality: these are the Cyclades Islands, the islands of the light, which in mythology gave birth to heroes and gods. All the islands are wonderful, each with its own grace, each with its own history. We will alternate days of navigation to days on shore to discover around the most interesting sites, stretch our legs and give us a little ‘well-deserved rest and some swim in the most beautiful bays. From Lefkas we will descend along the Ionian islands, we will enter the gulf of Patras up the Corinth Canal. Crossed the channel, we will face the Saronic Gulf and the Aegean Sea. A rich itinerary, with islands of great interest for their nature and the vestiges of an ancient past. From island to island, we will descend along the Cyclades down to the extraordinary Santorini, the island of the volcano. From there, with a new crew, it will start the return journey that will lead Samartina back to Lefkas.
– [ICON NAME=”ANCHOR”] –
Aegean Sea, Beautiful and Turbulent. To know the origin of the name, once again it’s to the myth that you have to go back. Legend says that Aegeo was the King of Athens, father of Theseus, the hero landed in Crete to defeat the Minotaur. Returning winner in Athens, Theseus forgot to raise a white sail, sign agreed to announce his victory over the Minotaur. Aegeus, seeing the black sail, believed his son dead and jumped from a rocky hill into the sea , which has since taken, forever, his name.
Sailing the Cyclades
Not far from Athens, in the middle of the Saronic Gulf, the island of Aegina has so many archaeological jewels that alone are worth the trip. The Temple of Afea, which dominates the hill, is one of them. Built in the sixth century b.C., it is located in a sort of equilateral triangle that joins the Parthenon and the complex of Cape Sounion. Cape Sounion is the southernmost tip of Attica: in ancient times, when long journeys were undertook by ship, the view of the Cape meant or the homecoming after a long adventure at the sea or vice versa farewell from Athens for undetermined time relying on good luck at sea. Indeed, at the god of the sea, Poisedon is dedicated the temple erected on the promontory of Cape Sounion. According to legend this is the place from where the Aegean, king of Athens, Theseus, believing his son dead fighting the Minotaur, jumped into the sea, that forever took his name.
This island was once a haven of pirates and then home to surfers and wealthy owners. In the nineteenth century it was chosen by Napoleon as a naval base to rule over the Mediterranean. Today, Hydra is one of the most famous resorts in the Aegean. On shore the first thing that catches the eye are the donkeys that ply transporting things and people to and forth: car are in fact interdicted on the island! Then, looking up, you see the buildings of the eighteenth century, the cathedral, a multitude of little shops that represent the best of the new Greek creativity. The beaches of Hydra can be reached on foot or by boat for the lucky ones, like us !!! Panoramic ascent to the monastery of the Prophet Elijah on Mount Eros offers an enchanting view, while at night it will be pleasant to meet all’Omilos, the restaurant that used to guest Maria Callas and the Rolling Stones.
Serifos e Sifnos
Serifos and Sifnos remained out of the mass tourism of others locations, and preserve the spirit and the original atmosphere of the Cyclades islands. They share with the rest of the archipelago the same story of domination and conquer. The Republic of Venice in particular has left important traces in Serifos, whose heights are dominated by the castle of Hora, which offers a breathtaking view. A number of ancient churches surround the castle, like that of St. John, built on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Athena. Nearby, the Taxiarches monastery is the most significant monument of Serifos: from the outside it looks like a huge fortress with a high wall and several buildings inside, which are home to a valuable collection of ecclesiastical items, Byzantine manuscripts and rare documents. Inside, in the main building is an exquisite marble floor depicting an eagle with two heads, some frescoes, valuable ancient icons and a wonderful marble portal and carved wood. In Sifnos instead is worth visiting the castle of Kastro and the medieval village that served as a shelter against the pirates. Countless bays, beaches and coves, perfect to give anchor and take a swim!
No no, Mykonos party !! It ‘s definitely the most gossiped of the Aegean island and has been since the sixties, when the luxury yachts down Hollywood stars, tycoons, famous writers and artists, who enjoyed dancing the Sirtaki with fishermen and to savor the simple life of the islanders. Then they landed the flower children and only changed the face becoming popular and affordable holiday destination. In the nineties, they flashed sparks of transgression and the island was chosen refuge among the most popular by homosexuals. Today the island still retains the typical Cycladic architecture with the narrow streets of Chora, the mills that stand in front of the sea and the white houses with blue shutters. And home to a wealthy, cosmopolitan tourism, a kind of Saint Tropez Aegean. Size could be called a rock, but Delos hosted the most important holy cities of all time. For mythology was the birthplace of Apollo – the god of the sun – and was chosen by all the cultures that followed one another over the centuries as a place of worship. Past glories are evident in the amount of buildings, temples, theater and patrician houses. The most famous is the one glimpse of the Terrace of the Lions. Unfortunately sacked by pirates and marauders, today the island is uninhabited and not allowed off stay. It is in fact an immense open-air archaeological site. Delos is easy to reach by boat from Mykonos and is a destination not to be missed.
Legend has it that Dionysus was born here. What it seems possible considering the extension of its vineyards and its olive cultures. Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades, the most fertile and populous, and has extended its dominion over all the islands in the past for long years. There are ample traces of the different domains that have taken placeon the island, from the Byzantineto the Venetian, numerous churches and fortresses that still can be visited. Remaining at the edgeof mass tourism for a long time, while providing crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches, is now increasingly sought after destination that receives visitors from all over Europe.
The island is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches that attract many tourists, especially young people who animate the summer evenings with intense and vibrant nightlife. At the same time, Ios is almost uninhabited, perfect destination for those seeking seclusion and relax among olive trees and bushes, churches and secret coves hidden among the rocks. The Chora is located on the site of the ancient city and is a typical settlement of the Cyclades islands, with white houses, narrow streets, churches and row of windmills. For lovers of classical studies remind you that in the north, to Plakato, seems to have buried Homer. From Pyrgos, the highestpoint of the island, is curious in the Byzantine church of Agios Ioannis, built on the foundationsof the Temple of Apollo. From there he looks towards the sea, while enjoying the viewand the silence.
The history of Santorini has always been marked by the presence, spectacular and terrible, of the volcano, thet here remains the only god. To understand is enought a glimpse to the island from the sea: its walls overlooking the water, with a mix of colors ranging from gray to red, they smell of ash and lapilli. On top, groups of white houses and ocher face the abyss of the caldera, almost defying the laws of gravity are the villages of Thira – the capital – and Oia, built under Venetian rule on the northern end of the island. The view of Santorini is alienating: the crater just have a small island! Blame the volcano, which erupted around 1615 BC plunging the center of the island at sea and generating a wave whose height is estimated to be tens of meters, that reached Crete and spread all around the Mediterranean, putting an end to the Minoan civilization. Thira and Oia are the most photographed villages in Greece, on the island’s summit. From here you can enjoy an enchanting landscape and hundreds of visitors flock to the terraces of the premises overlooking the crater to enjoy a sunset nothing short of unique. The island is perfect for a visit in the spring, before it is overwelmed by thousands of tourists who are incessantly disembarked from giant cruise ships.
Red, white, gold, yellow, black, orange … Milos is an island created by a volcanic eruption: qiu nature has created the art, the rocks are masterpieces of sculpture, its colored stones seem to be painted, as well as beautiful beaches. Petrification hides many minerals and the island is one of the oldest mines in the Mediterranean: Milos since ancient times, were produced and exported weapons and metal artifacts. Before the Cyclades to be inhabited, Milos was also a pirate island, because of its strategic position between East and West, in the middle of the Aegean. Defeated the Turks, the inhabitants went back down the coast digging caves as shelter for their boats; Above these fishermen began to build their own homes, which still can be admired around the bays and the sea. The beaches of Milos, characterized by multicolored rocks and lunar landscape, are among the most evocative of all the Cyclades. Milos was discovered the famous Venus, much to the chagrin of the islanders … is proudly displayed at the Louvre in Paris!
– THE IMPRINTING OF THE GODS –
Thousands of islands and thousands of gods and heroes: it is tra easy, on the shores of the Aegean, to stick at any place a name or an event that emerges from the myth. the results is a fascinating journey! We, as modern Argonauts,
will enjoy the privilege of discovering from the sea places that are, from countless point of view, among the more fascinating of the World. Glamour islands with frenetic rithms, wonderful beaches attracting tourists all over the world, open-air museums and
deserted atolls: here western civilization has blossomed, our culture, the myths that accompanied us for thousands of years! da migliaia di anni!! The Story, in short, was carved on these rocks!!
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