Greece: Ithaca - Sailing Vacations

Home of Odysseus, and perhaps Homer, this tiny island attracts sailors and holidaymakers from all over the world. It is very beautiful, and is surrounded by some of the clearest waters in Greece. Because it is small and a bit difficult to reach, it does not get the mass tourism that the neighboring islands do. Therefore many celebrities like spending their holidays here - either on their yachts or renting a house.

Ithaca is truly a magical place, and stands for the homecoming. Odysseus sailed for a decade to reach his home, and many sailors believe Ithaca is the ultimate goal. Its friendly people will do their best to make you feel welcome, and it is no coincidence that many return here year after year.

Even though Odysseus is the best known name of Ithaca, it was not he gave the island its name. According to mythology, Ithacis was the son of a Cephalonian king who settled here, and who together with his brother built a fountain that provided the whole island with water.

The island has probably been inhabited since the 2nd Millennium BC, and there is evidence it was the capital of Cephalonia during the Mycenaean period (around 1500BC). This coincides with the Trojan war, and if Odysseus really existed, now is when he would have been king.


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The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC, and later it became part of the Byzantine empire. It was constantly attacked by pirates, and made an alliance with Cephalonia in AD800. The Normands and the Franks ruled Ithaca in the 12th and 13th century, and after a 30 year Turkish rule (1479-1499) it fell into Venetian hands.

Towards the end of the 18th century the island was occupied by the French, and in 1809 it was conquered by the British. In 1821 the war of Independence broke out, and Ithaca was finally liberated in 1864. Much of the island was destroyed in the terrible earthquake of 1953. Therefore most of the buildings on the island are no older than 50 years, and the Italian influence is quite obvious.

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