Venetian tower houseWithin the Kastro there are still remains of some original buildings including the Catholic cathedral. Right behind it is the French School of Commerce opened by the Jesuits in 1627. The renown Cretan writer, Nikos Kazantzakis, once attended here. Now it houses the Archaeological Museum. There is also the Ursuline Convent and School where the young ladies of Venetian aristocracy were educated.
Surrounding the Kastro there are still several of the tower homes once occupied by Venetian gentry. One of these is the Della Rocca Barozzi home, which the owners still occupy some of the year. But during tourist season, this is the Venetian Folklore Museum. http://www.greeka.com/cyclades/naxos/naxos-museums/naxos-venetian-museum.htm
I've always wanted to visit the museum and somehow, despite my many trips to Naxos, this was the first time I made a point of going in. Only two of the Kastros original seven towers remain. A few of the Venetian Catholic's descendants still live in the old mansions encircling the site. Their family coats of arms decorate the doorways. It's fortunate that the Della Rocca family decided to turn their home into a museum, giving people an opportunity to view what life was like in the days of the Venetian Duchy.
The museum is located near the entrance of the castle, called Trani Porta. Here you have a chance to see objects and furnishing of an old household that tells some of the history and tradition of Naxos. You step inside and feel as if you've gone back in time to the 13th century. Rooms are filled with ornate furniture, elaborate rugs, household items, clothing, tables set as if dinner guests will arrive at any minute, comfortable bedrooms including a nursery, all decked out with the filmy trappings and objects of a lady's boudoir. In the living room area, there's an old piano once played by Leonard Bernstein. Marnie got a chance to sit down and tinkle out a few tunes.
Marnie plays us a tune
View from a tower window
If you're lucky, perhaps the owner will be there to guide you through. Otherwise there are tours in English by docents. The tour ends up in the wine cellar which has even more objects dating back well into ancient times including a stone engraved with a message to Ptolemy of Egypt.
Ancient engraving addressed to Ptolemy of Egypt
Glenys enters the wine cellar
We had a wonderful morning touring the museum, and browsing the shops along the narrow vaulted streets nearby, ending up with a delicious lunch at a hillside taverna overlooking the port.
Glenys and Marnie enjoying a delicious lunch overlooking Naxos harbour