Inner Mani tour: the defiant tower housesMani, Greece
Inner Mani Tour: the Defiant Tower Houses is a fascinating self-guided audio tour at inner Mani. Discover credible and original stories written by top local professionals after extended research. Take your tour now and enjoy it instantly on your smartphone device.
The tour is dedicated to the so-called “aposkieri” (“sitting in the shade”) Mani. This is the part of the peninsula that faces west, towards the Gulf of Messenia and is richly endowed with a history full of battles and campaigns for the control of its strong castles. The Byzantines, the Venetians, the Franks, the Turks and the Slavs clashed here in a long succession of conquests that shaped the local architecture and customs.
Inner Mani Tour begins in Itilo, the northernmost settlement of Inner Mani. Last refuge of many notable Byzantine families who tried to maintain contact with the Christian West during a period of rapid Ottoman advances, it was also home to the Great Festival of Love, established by the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus in order to stop the constant conflicts and killings between the powerful families of the area. The settlement of Limeni was created by the noble family of the Mavromichali who chose this isolated location because it offered security and the ability to supervise the whole area. Legend has it that the Mavromichali family descended from fairies but Petrobey Mavromichali rose to become a sort of independent ruler of Mani with absolute power, a large army and impressive wealth.
Τhe jewel of the tour is the complex of 18 caves centered on Diros Cave, discovered by accident at the end of the 19th century. They extend all the way to the southernmost tip of the Mani peninsula, Cape Tainaro and bear traces of life from 4800 BC. Tools, utensils, weapons, animal and human bones indicate that they were used as shelters and storage areas during the Neolithic era. The cave of Alepotrypa nearby was discovered in 1958 by a group of hunters who were after a fox. Recent excavations brought to light the double burial of a young couple in an embrace dating back to 3800 BCE.
1. Temple of Assumption of Mother MaryThe site of the construction of the metropolitan church of Itilo is known as “The square of the Castle”. It dates back to the 19th century and was built on the remnants of an earlier Byzantine monastery.
2. Athanaton SquareThe statue of Petrombey Mavromichali is the trademark of the square. It commemorates his leadership in the struggle for Greek independence.
3. Diros Tower (Pyrgos Dirou)Only a short distance from Areopoli and built on a hillside, Diros is a typical Mani settlement. It’s known for the hardness of its female population.
The unfortunate castle
Temple of Assumption of Mother MaryFrom Itilo you can see the famous castle of Kelefa. Its reconstruction dates back to the 17th century and reflects the Ottomans' attempt to consolidate their sovereignty in the region. Fifteen years after its erection (in 1685), the Venetians managed to conquer it and they became its commanders for almost thirty years.
The Saggia feeder
Athanaton SquarePart of the Taygetos mountain range, Saggias is a natural and imposing setting on the back of Areopoli. It is a shelter for migratory birds and is recognized as a protected area. In the past years, the poorest of the locals used to climb it and cast nets in order to capture birds resting on its slopes. It was their way to ensure that they would have meat for food.
Women with sickles
Diros Tower (Pyrgos Dirou)In 1826, the Greek Revolution received the most powerful hit by the large army of Ibrahim Pasha. During June of the same year, the Ottomans disembarked troops in Mani and attacked in two different places: in Verga where local men faced them successfully and in Diros where they were unprotected women and children. With stones and sickles the Diros women managed to repulse the soldiers of Ibrahim. Out of a total 2,000 soldiers, only 400 survived.
historistai is a cultural Group of Public History aiming at the creation of aesthetically upgraded history projects with applications at education, tourism, and culture.
|Starting point||Epar.Od. Kalamatas - Areopolis, Itilo|
|Finishing point||Caves of Diros, Itilo|
|Areas||Itilo, Areopoli, Limeni, Diros Caves|
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.
By clicking "Add to cart", you are purchasing this tour in English. This tour is also available in the following languages: Ελληνικά.