Nestled in a quaint village of traditional stone towers in Eastern Mani (location of John Kassavetis’ film “The tempest”), this hillside house has views typical of Mani, looking out over olive groves and the sea which is just a 5 minute drive away. Originally an abandoned megalithic two-story building dating from the 18th century, the house is surrounded by a garden with olive trees, carob trees and prickly pears, even a cave. It’s an ideal place for privacy and relaxation. To the East, the yard abuts a 16th century tower, and just below there is a Byzantine chapel with 12th century frescoes. The stone tower house was renovated and extended by the architect Elena Zervoudakis, z-level architecture, preserving the building’s traditional elements and combining them with minimalist interiors to give a sense of serenity and primordial spirit. The 150 sq.m. house is built into the slope and thus evolves over 3 levels, each with access to the garden and verandahs. The house has two apartments that can be separated: the katoi (sleeps 4-5) and the anoi (sleeps 4-5).
On the lower level there is a bedroom with a double bed, a single bed and a wooden ladder that leads to a loft, containing a double mattress that sleeps two. A half-height wall, isolates the bedroom from an open closet, beyond which lies the bathroom.A wooden staircase leads to the middle level, where is the living room and the kitchen.
The living room is an open space with large pillows, which can also be converted into a sleeping area, with a double and a single bed.The kitchen is free-standing, fully equipped island. There is a simple wooden dining table that can seat 6-10 persons and a stove with a wood-burning oven.
At Katoi the lower level has access to the west exterior side and the middle level has access to the east and the west exterior sides of the house. The central veranda on the west side has an open-air kitchen with a marble sink, BBQ and a big wooden table.
The small balcony on the east side is ideal for having breakfast, under the shadow of the tower and the trees, leading to the garden with its hammock and carob tree.
A staircase leads to the third level, which can be isolated, if needed, from the other two levels and can be totally independent. It consists of a sitting room with fireplace, where there is a sofa that can be used also as a double bed, an open plan fully-equipped kitchen, a loft with a single bed, a double bedroom and a bathroom (with shower).
There is access to the exterior on both sides, with a view to the sea. The western yard offers a shady refuge under the trees.
The east yard below the heavy rocks, offers a magnificent view to the sea and Kotronas bay.
Its recent conversion to an ecologically-minded holiday villa (using local materials and techniques, rainwater harvesting and eco-friendly waste disposal system for irrigation) aspires to leave a light footprint on the long history of the building and to open up a dialogue between traveler and place.
Maina is the perfect starting point to discover the rugged natural beauty of Mani and its cultural wealth. The blend of the mountainous landscape and rugged coastline with pebble beaches, small coves, mystical byzantine churches, and austere tower houses each with their own dynamic history, is unique. The spectacular path to the ancient city Aigila and the monastery of Krounos passes right in front of the house. Not far to the north there is majestic Mount Taygetos with its wealth of flora and fauna, and opportunities to collect herbs. Walks here vary from child friendly to seriously challenging. Being a limestone peninsula, Mani has a labyrinth of caves, some of which can be visited by boat. Horseback riding is also on offer nearby as is the chance to harvest olives in ancient groves, sample wonderful home cooking and even learn some of the traditional recipes of Mani.