Mani is one of the places in Greece where the beauty of the landscape of its settlements really seems to be different from the rest of the country. The traditional Areopolis, at the entrance point of its Laconian side, with its picturesque stone construction could not be the exception to the rule. So let’s admire the wonderful scenery, but also the rich historical past of this unique area.
Stone-built paths, buildings with stone as their basic material and imperious towers compose the frame of a place whose living tradition, a combination of present and past, enchant at first sight every visitor of this officially declared as historically preserved settlement.
Ground zero of Areopolis, also known as Tsimova in the Middle Ages, could be none other than its central square, with the characteristic name Athanaton Square. There you will find the emblematic statue of Petrobey Mavromichalis, who with his invitation actively contributed to the declaration of the Greek revolution on March 17th, which is the second official name of the square.
As you walk around, you will appreciate the Mani style of building houses with a simple and elegant design. You will reach the Pikoulakis Tower, which houses the Byzantine museum. There, you will see a large collection of artifacts from ancient churches in the region.
The rich religious background of Mani makes its dynamic appearance diffuse, with the various unique churches that you will find during your walk. Do not miss the opportunity to visit that of the Metropolis of Taxiarches, the church that the revolutionaries worshiped before throwing themselves into the battle for freedom in the historic 1821, exclaiming “Victory or Death“.
Just so you know: The origin of the name of Areopolis hides behind two scenarios with some believing that it comes from the god of war Mars and others due to the presence of strong winds in the area.
Limeni: A must stop
Areopolis is not only a place of countless beauties, but it also serves as a base for exploring other equally unforgettable nearby locations. Your first stop should definitely be its picturesque seaport, Limeni, which promises a magical journey through time.
Waters in the colors of blue with scattered shades of green and houses made of stone following the Mani architectural design, create a postcard-like environment, where the smell of planted cypress trees comes to take off. The sunset from its area will justify you with its unique colors, so take the opportunity to enjoy its orange colors to paint the horizon.
Do not forget to make a stop at the restored Tower of the Mavromichalis family, since Limeni was the birthplace of Petrobey himself, this emblematic revolutionary figure, where, among other things, you will have the opportunity to visit his bust and grave. Apart from this four-storey tower house, you can admire up close a number of churches located in the settlement of Limenio, such as that of Agios Soti.
If you are looking for a suitable place to dive, the beach of Limeni may not satisfy you since its exterior and interior consists mainly of rocks. An ideal nearby alternative for swimming would be to dive into the long sandy beach between Neo Itilo and Karavostasi.
Areopolis: Time for the cuisine of Mani
Mani is renowned not only for its unique architecture and rich history, but also for its delectable local cuisine. When dining in Areopolis, be sure to try some of the region’s signature dishes, such as those made with local syglino pork or traditional orange-flavored sausage. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the “tsouchti” pasta, served with burnt mizithra cheese and a fried egg.
How to get there: The beautiful Areopolis is located built at the roots of the mountain of Prophet Elias at an altitude of 250 meters. To find yourself enjoying its landscape, starting from Athens, you will cross about 280 kilometers, a route of three short hours.
Mani is the place where each village leaves you truly amazed with its beauty, the stone-built Areopolis and the seaside Limeni manage to worthily preserve its reputation.