Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Add to Technorati FavoritesThis summer when I spent a few days on my favorite island, Naxos, my BC friends Glenys and Marnie and I went exploring around Naxos old town, the Venetian quarter. This is where, in Venetian times, the wealthy lived within or surrounding the walls of the fortress, called the "Kastro".  From 1294 ti 1537 this was the stronghold of the Venetian Duchy of the Aegean.
Venetian tower house
Within 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.

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
The museum is open daily from April to October (10 am - 3 pm and 7 pm to 10 pm) with an entrance fee of 5 euro (3 euro for students). During the summer season, the museum holds cultural activities such as music concerts (classical and jazz, local and traditional music) art exhibitions and folkloric events. These are held in the tower garden with spectacular views overlooking the harbour and the famous "portals" at the entrance to the harbour, the unfinished portal of a temple of Apollo built around 530 BC.

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


Renuka said...

Fabulous! How do you manage to bring so many historic stories with such beauty!?

Wynn Bexton said...

Thanks Renuka, I love history/archaeology etc and when I travel that's one of my focuses.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kris angel said...

Great blog I really love your writing style that you are using for your posts,it is important you also look through some of the Book Europe Flights. You may have some idea on what to and not to do. It is best you get up, get some research and get going for your vacation in Europe!

Henry Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wynn Bexton said...

Please refrain from using my blog for your FREE ads. Thanks.

Wynn Bexton said...

I appreciate people reading and commenting on my travel blogs but I don't provide free ads for your businesses.