Proclaimed the 29th largest yacht in the world in 2007 by PowerandMotorYacht.com, the Alfa Nero is an impressive 82 meters (269 feet). It features an infinity pool 23-feet long and 11-feet-5 inches wide, as well as a heliport. This yacht was spotted here in the port of
Vathy. For more information click here.
ITHACA By Greek poet Constantin Kavafis, Published in 1910
As you set out to Ithaca hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery, Laistrygonians and Cyclops, angry Poseidon — don't be afraid of them: you'll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body.... Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when, with what pleasure, what joy, you come into harbors seen for the first time.... Keep Ithaca always on your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for. But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years, so you are old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich. Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now...
Island of Odysseus
Among the loveliest things about this small island,
one of the seven that make up the Ionian Islands, is that
it doesn't attract the hordes of tourists that the more
well-known Greek Islands do. One reason for this is that
the beautiful island is a bit difficult to reach — there is no
airport. The other is that Ithaca lacks the frenzied nightlife
and crowded sandy beaches that most traditional tourists
to the Greek islands are seeking. And that suits Ithacans
This is an island of calm, the perfect place for relaxation
and reflection, for enchanting walks amid verdant scenery,
for swimming in some of the clearest emerald waters in
Greece. For all of these reasons, Ithaca attracts celebrities
who vacation here on their yachts or in their second homes.
Located west of Greece's mainland in the Ionian Sea,
most visitors to Ithaca reach it by taking a flight from
Athens to the neighboring islands of Cephalonia or Lefcas
and then via a ferry, excursion boat, or personal craft.
It's famous for being the homeland of Homer's hero
Odysseus (Ulysses) in The Odyssey (and some believe
Homer may himself have lived here). On Ithaca, Odysseus's
faithful wife Penelope waited 20 years for his return from
his long, adventurous, and sometimes treacherous voyage
of exploration. He did manage to return to his beloved
island, and because of this mythical tale, Ithaca has come
to symbolize the joys and difficulties of the voyage of
life. The Greek poet Constantin Kavafis expressed this
sentiment masterfully in a famous and popular Greek
poem, excerpted above.
Although Odysseus is the most famous personality
associated with the island, its name was derived from Ithacis
who, as mythology has it, was the son of a Cephalonian
king who — with his brother — built a fountain that
supplied water for the entire island.
Ithaca's nonfictional history is every bit as colorful as
its mythological lore. It's believed the island has been
inhabited at least since the 2nd Millennium B.C. Evidence
uncovered indicates it was the capital of Cephalonia around
1500 B.C. This is about the same time as the Trojan War
— if Odysseus really existed he would have been king.
The mighty Roman Empire occupied Ithaca in the
2nd Century B.C. Later, the island was incorporated into
the Byzantine Empire. Constantly attacked by pirates,
resulting in many lost lives, Ithaca made an alliance with
Cephalonia in 800 A.D. In the 12th and 13th Centuries,
the island came under rule of the Normans and the Franks
and then, after 30 years in the late 1400s of governance
by the Turks, it went into Venetian hands. During this latter
period, the island's agricultural and shipping industries were
developed, leading to the improvement of Ithacan society.
Near the end of the 1700s, France occupied Ithaca; it
was conquered by the British in 1809. In 1821, mainland
Greece's War of Independence against the Muslim Turks
broke out. For 400 years the Turks had occupied Greece,
attempting to close the churches and to eradicate Greek
culture and language, which were secretly kept alive by the
Greeks. The Ithacans aided the Greeks in their struggle,
producing Odysseus Androutsos, one of the top freedom
fighters against the Turks. His birth home is still visible on
the waterfront in Ithaca's lovely capital, Vathy. During this
period, productivity, trade, and education all improved to
once again raise the standard of living on the island. In
1864, the island was finally liberated and became part of
the new Greek State. Sadly, most of Ithaca was destroyed
in a terrible 1953 earthquake. That's why most buildings are
no older than 50 years. Many exhibit an Italian architectural
This tiny island has an incredible mix of
topography. The east coast is precipitous,
the interior is notably mountainous, and the
west coast is green and gentle, sloping down to the sea.
It's on the latter that you'll find Vathy, which has the world's
largest natural harbor. Sites to see include the Cave of the
Nymphs and the monastery of the Virgin Mary Kathara,
with its impressive icons. There is also a small archeological
museum, artists' studios and shops, as well as charming
cafes and taverns offering traditional Greek fare.
Peratzada 1811 Art Hotel towers over the waterfront homes on the hillside overlooking Vathy's port. Rates range from 195 € to 643 € for this 4-star hotel. Hotel phone number: 30-26740-23914. For more information click here.
Story by Jacqueline Shannon
Photography by Michael Blassis