Agios Athanasios / Homer’s Academy
The Archaeological Department of the University of Ioannina, has been conducting excavations in northern Ithaca since 1994, under the direction of Asst. Professor Litsa Kontorli-Papadopoulou and Professor Athanasios Papadopoulos. During the excavations of the last decade, significant findings show, with relative probability, the location of the palace in Agios Athanasios, at the edges of Exogi. In this region parts of the acropolis from prehistoric to roman years were revealed. It was consisted of ancient buildings-terraces (= flat ground surface) linked with stone stairwells. In the east, there is an underground prehistoric fountain-tank, built according to the technique of corbelling and similarly to the underground tanks of Mycenae and Tiryns. The findings are located in the museums of Cross and Vathi.
Located in the south part of the island, where, according to legend, Odysseus met the shepherd Evmaios after his return to Ithaca. Accessible on foot, following a path for approximately 2.5 hours.
On the road leading to Piso Aetos, 4 km away from Vathi, is the hill of Aetos. From the location of the small church of St. George, a steep path begins that leads visitors to the top of the hill (height 380m) where the ruins of the Acropolis Alalkomenes city lay - 'the castle of Odysseus' as the locals call it.
According to Homer's writings, that placed it on a location with view to three seas and surrounded by three mountains, the palace of Odysseus was initially said to be at Pilikata, near Stavros. This theory has now been abandoned, but the excavations continue, as they have brought to light important findings of the Mycenaean and Corinthian period. These findings are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Stavros, located in this region.
The Cave of the Nymphs or Marmarospilia as it is also called by the locals is located very close to Vathi, on the way to North Ithaca. The myth has it that Odysseus hid the gifts from the Phaeacians in this cave, once he landed on his island. In the cave, apart from the stalactites and stalagmites, are the ruins of an ancient altar. The hole on the top of the cave (the entrance of the gods, according to the myth), allowed the smoke from the sacrifices to rise to heaven. Following the recent excavations conducted by the Director of the Archaeological Society of the Ministry of Culture, Mr Sarantis Symeonoglou, the cave is no longer open to the public.
Cave of Loizos
Located in the bay of Polis, in the area of Stavros. It was considered the center of worship during the era of the early Greek civilization. From all the discoveries found during excavations in the cave, it has been proved that the harbor was active since the first Mycenaean era and until the Greek and Roman eras. Among the most important findings during the excavations on the island are the fragments of a clay mask of the 1st or 2nd century AD, bearing the engraved inscription ΕΥΧΗΝ ΟΔΥΣΣΕΙ (= “a wish for Ulysses” in Ancient Greek).
Archaeological Museum of Ithaca (Vathi)
The museum's collection includes findings from the Geometric to the Roman years, from excavations at Aetos and other archaeological sites. Among the major exhibits are a rare collection of vases, consisted of almost 1000 intact vases and shells. These come from the outdoor sanctuary of the god Apollo, where they were found along with other dedications made of gold, copper, ivory, amber and semi precious stones, dated mainly from the Proto-geometric era to the Oriental era (1050 - 600 BC). Of particular interest is a category of vases from the Geometric period, derived from a local laboratory, thus called Ithacan. Impressive is also considered the collection of small items, particularly miniature objects, presented by the faithful in the temple of Apollo, located in Piso Aetos. Many statuettes, amongst which a small bronze sculpture of Odysseus, were also found in the same area.
The museum is located in Vathi, near the Cathedral. Hours: 8.30–15.00.
Phone: +30 2674 32200.
Marine and Folklore Museum Ithaca
The Marine Folk Museum of the Municipality of Ithaca is located in the building of the former Electric Power Station, which was restored and renovated. Its collection includes more than 1500 exhibits, among which there is a rich collection of old photographs of the early twentieth century, a collection of boat paintings of Ithacan owners, nautical instruments, uniforms, documents and books of the Commerce-Marine School Stathatos and other evidence from the rich maritime history of Ithaca. It also contains copper, bronze and ceramic household utensils, jewelry, old tools and characteristic objects of various professions, furniture of the bourgeoisie of the island, small religious art, traditional costumes of Ithaca, and also equipment and construction of fiber and textile, agricultural equipment tools, weaving tools, religious items, jewelry, stamps, musical instruments, etc. In 1996 the museum included in its collection a series of etchings of JHW TISCHBREIN (1751-1829) with the figures of Homer, courtesy of the Center of Odysseus Studies.
The Marine Folk Museum is located in Vathi, near the central square.
Hours: September to June: 9.00–13.00 every day except Sunday and Monday. July & August, 9.30–13.30, except Monday.
Phone: +30 26740-33398.
Archaeological Collection of Stavros Ithaca
Here one can see findings from northern Ithaca dated, from the pre-Hellenic period and up to the Roman period. The museum was built in 1933. In1994 the building was rehabilitated. Most findings come from the excavations by the British Archaeological School in Athens at the Cave of Loizos and at Pilikata. Among the most important exhibits are parts of large bronze tripods, a relief depicting Nymphs dancing in the cave in Polis (9th-8th century BC) and fragments of a clay mask from the 1st or 2nd century AD, bearing engraved the inscription ΕΥΧΗΝ ΟΔΥΣΣΕΙ (= “a wish for Ulysses” in Ancient Greek).
The museum is located in Stavros, on the road to Platrithia.
Hours: Daily, except Monday, 8.30–15.00. Tel: +30 26740 31305, +30 6945 840055.