If you have never been to Monemvasia, you should. If you visit Monemvasia, you should stay at the Theophano Art Hotel. This hotel is the ideal place to stay, for anyone who appreciate art, history, architecture and archaeology. In short, Theophano Art Hotel is a place of humanism and beauty.
What I like about Theophano Art Hotel
We were warmly welcomed by Theophana, a lawyer turned hotelier. After spending years in Athens, she came to Monemvasia to pursue what her heart tells her to: dedication to art, to history and to what Ancient Greece has lost to Christianity and Slavic, Frankish and Turkish invaders: humanistic beauty.
Step back in time at Theophano Art Hotel
Once she found out that we too are fascinated by history, Theophana showed us the vaults that run under the rooms. Back in the dark ages, these are used to store drinking rain water, and it has allowed Monemvasia to hold up against invaders for a long time. The farmland on the plateau has also sustained inhabitants while under a siege. The vaults were also used to make and store the famous Monemvasia (Malmsey) wine.
The houses within the compound of Theophano Art Hotel are also of great historical value. According to old title deeds, Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos (Γιάννης Ρίτσος) was born here in 1909.
Architecturally, Theophano Art Hotel is likewise of special interest. It overlooks the majestic Chrysafitissa Square and the Sea Walls that lead to the Portello (the only swimming spot of Monemvasia). All rooms enjoy an unobstructed views of the Myrtoo Sea, that divides Monemvasia and mainland Peloponnese.
You will also notice intricate historic and artistic details of the building: old wooden doors, the crumbling stone walls, antique furniture and the floor mosaic. If you are good, Theophana may also show you her house, where she hosts small concerts and displays her artwork. Everything in the hotel was restored to its former glory, observing historic details like only an intellectual and history and art lover like Theophana can.
Count stars on the rooftop terrace of the Theophano Art Hotel
We were lucky enough to have booked the room with access to not one but two balconies. The private balcony of our room was above a beautiful ancient walkway, and it hid us from the scorching sun, so we could enjoy a good book while sipping Monemvasia wine.
The rooftop terrace is accessible to all three rooms of our building.
That was the single most breathtaking spot of Theophano Art Hotel.
Beautifully laid out, we brought our cushions, books and wine onto the terrace the watch the sun set onto the glittering blue sea. In the evening, when it begins to cool down, this was where we sat, letting the cool sea breeze gently caress our bodies, taking away the toil and the sweat of the day.
We laid down and looked up at the sky, and counted the stars. Without any light pollution from cities, we were able to see the whole galaxy. And the experience was one which I could replay in my mind thousands of times – an unforgettable, memorable moment of happiness.
Here is the most famous verse by Yiannis Ritsos, and you may well understand how Monemvasia lives and breathes art:
I know that each one of us travels to love alone,
alone to faith and to death.
I know it. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t help.
Let me come with you.
—from “Moonlight Sonata”
Before you go, check out other interesting destinations in Greece!