Leonidio is the ideal place if you wish to make a trip to the past and also understand why Greek traditions are deeply rooted in contemporary practice.
The 19th century town is built in a fertile valley at the foot of a huge red cliff known as Taramas (fish roe) which overlooks the town as if hanging from the sky. It was Taramas that saved Leonidio from Ibrahim Pasha when his troops torched the Peloponnese in 1826 following the Sultan's orders to crush the War of Independence.
The memory of the struggle of liberation from the Turkish rule still prevails in "old Greece", as the area is also called. Leonidio's traditional architectural character with defensive towers and impressive "arhontika" (mansions), with their large pebble yards and orange-tree groves is protected by the state. They bear witness to the wealth and prosperity Leonidio once enjoyed due to the international trade activities of its inhabitants.
The mansions, their sounds and shadows, inspired stories about nymphs, ghosts, spirits and fairies. Greek writer Yorgos Ioannou penned the frightening ghost stories of the region and made them known to a wider public. Ioannou says in his narrations that he was often paralized with fear after hearing tales of ghosts and vampires told by the old men in the village "kafeneio" after dusk. He even claimed to have envisioned some of the imaginary ghouls lurking in the shadows, keeping a watchful eye on the "xeno" (stranger) as he made his way home late at night.
Besides customized workshops for artists and individual trips and excursions into the Arcadian culture, we offer a cosy studio apartment in an authentic 19th century mansion (starting at 180 euro per person/week - booking details on request).
>> Images of Leonidio & studio apartment (download PDF)