ITHACA (VATHI)

         
 

The island, according to some, has taken its name from the word “ITHI”, which means cheerful or gaiety. According to others the name derived from the ancient hero Ithakin.

The island of Ithaca is the home country and the Kingdom of the Homeric hero Ulysses. This kingdom included Ithaca, the surrounding island, Kefallinia and Zakinthos. Ulysses took part in the Trojan Wars and was distinguished for his bravery.

His fame remained unspoiled through the years for his innovations and negotiations; this is why in literature he is known as cunning Ulysses. After the 10 years war of Troy, Ulysses with his soldiers drifted for another 10 years before returning to his home. It is these 10 years that Homer wrote of in his poem of “Odyssey”.

During the Byzantine age the island belonged together with the other island of the Ionian Sea to the Byzantine general Illyrikos. In the 13th century it was occupied by both the Normans and the Sicilians, who made Orsini the ruler of the island together with Kefallinia and Zakinthos. In the mid 15th century, the island was taken over by the Venetians, up until the end of the 18th century when the French and then the English captured it. It was reunited with Greece in 1864. The islanders of Ithaca, since ancient times, turned to the sea and proved to be very good sailors.

The town of Vathi has taken its name from the bay of Vathi, which means deep. This name is quite popular in Greece and it always has the same meaning. This town was also destroyed by the earthquake of 1953 but was rebuilt in the old style. Visit the museum to see the ceramics and other exhibits of the Progeometric and Geometric ages. Hereby lies also the house of Odysseus Androutsos, the hero of the liberating fight against the Turks. The bay of Vathi is the Homeric bay of FORMINOS.

Do not forget to taste the local specialties, which are: Chicken “Tsereta”, “Sovoro” (fry with raisons and rosemary) and “Ravani” (sweet made from rice honey).

 
 

 

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