Parthenon Fragment Returned from Sicily, Now on Display at Acropolis Museum

A fragment from the Parthenon temple that was recently returned to Greece by the regional archaeological museum of Sicily, has now been placed on the Parthenon frieze at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, where it will remain on display as part of a long-term loan. 

The fragment depicts the right foot and part of the dress of the Greek goddess Artemis, which once sat on the eastern frieze of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis Hill.

The slab was unveiled in a ceremony at the Acropolis Museum yesterday, January 10, as the fragment was placed in the Parthenon Gallery – a glass-walled chamber with a view of the Parthenon- displaying sculptures of the temple’s 160-metre-long frieze in the same position as they were on the original monument (with plaster copies replacing pieces that are now mainly in the British Museum.)

Insights Greece - Parthenon Fragment Returned from Sicily, Now on Display at Acropolis Museum
The fragment from Palermo on its base, at the position where it’s placed at the east frieze at the Acropolis Museum. Images by Paris Tavitian © Acropolis Museum

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, the director of Acropolis Museum Nikos Stambolidis and the President of the Acropolis Museum Dimitris Pantermalis attended the ceremony, as Greek officials warmly welcomed the development, stressing that it shows the way for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures kept for two centuries at the British Museum.

Also at the ceremony was Assessor, Dr. Alberto Samonà, Cultural Heritage and Identity of Sicily, who said during the event, “We hope that after Sicily, other regions and countries also decide to take a step forward so that we can build together a new humanism.” 

It is unclear how Fagan came to own the fragment, which has been in Palermo, Sicily, since 1818 and was part of the archaeological collection of Robert Fagan, a British diplomat and art dealer who was appointed consul general for Sicily and Malta in the early 19th century. Following his death, his widow sold the piece to the University of Palermo’s Regio Museum, now the Salinas Museum. 

Director of A. Salinas Museum in Palermo, Dr. Caterina Greco added, “Today is a very important day, both for the culture and for me personally. The reconnection of the fragment with the other fragments on display in this majestic museum first seals, in the most representative degree, the feelings of brotherhood and cultural identity that have connected Sicily with Greece for centuries.”

The Italian museum has returned the fragment on loan to Greece for eight years with a view of permanent repatriation. It can be viewed by the public at the Acropolis Museum, which is one of the world’s most visited museums.  

Images by Paris Tavitian © Acropolis Museum

Real Estate Prospects in Southern Europe on the Rise in 2022

Real estate prospects in southern European capitals are seen improving in 2022, according to the latest report put together by PwC and Urban Land Institute, though volatility in the sector remains.

Based on a ranking of 31 European cities included in the annual “Emerging Trends in Real Estate – Road to Recovery” report, the outlook in Spain, Italy and Greece improved in the last year. Topping the list is London, followed by Paris and Berlin.

“Madrid has moved up two places to sixth, with a score that now rivals the leading German cities. Interviewees point out that it offers good opportunities across sectors, such as residential and logistics, as well as a strong office market,” says the report.

Rome climbed to position number 21 (from 23rd) and Athens advanced to 23rd place (from 28th place).

On a second-ranking assessing expected changes in rental and capital values in 2022, Athens took first place.

“Relatively few survey participants are active in the Athens market, but they believe the city offers some of the strongest growth prospects anywhere in Europe. This relates not just to the potential recovery of tourism, but also to Greece’s relative political stability compared with Turkey,” says PwC and ULI.

The report goes on to cite one private equity investor who says: “Greece, for the first time in decades, has a stable, pro-business government. This stability is set against a contrasting situation in Turkey.”

In terms of broader property trends in Europe, the annual review points out that there is a clear upturn in confidence but that volatility and uncertainty continue amidst high inflation and supply chain problems.

“The biggest current uncertainty relates to inflation and supply chains, impacting mostly construction prices and delivery schedules, just at a time when the industry wants to resume delayed developments or advance repurposing initiatives,” it says.

“As a consequence, we are seeing strong sentiment swings, as the industry struggles to interpret the potential impact of supply chain disruptions, surging energy costs and labor shortages on real estate, and how long these issues might last,” it adds.

This article was first published here. 

For more Real Estate News & Views on Greece and Europe’s South, head to The Greek Guru.

*Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

Greece and Italy Named Europe’s Best Destinations for 2021

Rich history, authentic cultural traditions, breathtaking landscapes, stunning islands, azure waters, delicious food – with so much in common- it’s easy to see why Greece and Italy are Europe’s leading travel destinations!

Greece, with its resurgent travel and tourism economy, was voted ‘Europe’s Leading Destination’, at the prestigious World Travel Awards, which took place this month. The awards are widely regarded as the “Oscars of the travel industry” and with Greece having a strong summer season (despite the pandemic) proved to be the most desired destination.

Greece’s Tourism Minister, Vassilis Kikilias, announced: “Greece managed the pandemic and followed medical and travel protocols in the best possible way, proving to the world that it is the most beautiful but also the safest destination. This international award for 2021 comes to confirm that when it comes to tourism we are champions in quality and the travel experience.” 

The results followed a year-long search for the world’s top travel, tourism and hospitality brands. Votes were cast by travel industry professionals and the public, with the nominee gaining the most votes in a category named as the winner.

 “Our winners represent the very best of Europe’s travel and tourism sector and my congratulations to each of them. They are all playing starring roles in leading the travel and tourism recovery,” said Graham Cooke, Founder, World Travel Awards.

Italy was a runner-up at these awards, however at the 25th Readers’ Choice Awards (RCA), which were also announced this month, Italy took first place with Greece ranking second on the list of ‘Europe’s Best Overall Destinations’ for 2021.

The annual American Readers’ Choice Awards are organised in the US by Worth Publications and the bi-monthly travel magazine Recommend. The coveted event recognises excellence among destinations, hotels, resorts, travel agents, cruise lines, airlines, and more.

The awards were determined based on the vote of over 135,000 readers, who participated in an online poll during July 8 – August 31, 2021; and are given to countries, travel/tourism agencies, and companies around the world that have established themselves in terms of excellence while attracting the strong interest of the global tourism industry.

Visiting the Ancient Greek Temples in Sicily 

Just outside Agrigento, on the beautiful southern coast of Sicily, you will find a large archaeological area where monumental Greek temples were built in the 4th and 5th centuries BC. They are some of the largest and best-preserved Greek temples outside of Greece.

In 1997, the Valley of the Temples was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and this archaeological park is now a national monument of Italy. If you are heading to Sicily (1.5-hour direct flight from Athens), we highly recommend you visit. 

History of Agrigento 

This wonderful ancient city was built by the Greeks who colonized parts of Sicily in the 6th century BC. Although today it is known as Agrigento, this ancient Greek town was originally called Akragas, named after the Akragas River. At one time Agrigento was one of the richest and most important cities of the Greek empire.

Centuries later the Romans took the territory and renamed it “Agrigentum”. The city prospered again right up until the fall of the Roman Empire. While the modern city was severely damaged during WWII, the Valley of the Temples was preserved.

Valley of the Temples 

Today, the Valley of the Temples features the remains of 7 temples. Six of these sit along the hill while one, the Temple of Asclepius, is located next to the Akragas River. 

Along with ancient temples, the park also features ancient houses, tombs, and other historic monuments. Much of the ancient city of Agrigento remains unexcavated but the size and splendour of the temples allow visitors to realise just how majestic Agrigento was in the ancient Mediterranean world. 

Discover the ruins  

Visits to the site begin from the entrance at the eastern end, just down the hill from the centre of town. Walking along, you will come across three main ruins- the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Concordia (reminiscent of the Acropolis in Athens), and the Temple of Hercules (the site’s oldest temple). Roman tombs and Greek walls run along the pathway and as you walk through you will also come across remains of the ancient Agora, which are located near the parking lot.

Insights Greece - Visiting the Ancient Greek Temples in Sicily 

What else you’ll find in the area 

Beyond the ancient ruins, nearby attractions include the Kolymbithra Garden (an ancient olive and citrus garden), and The Regional Archaeological Museum ‘Pietro Griffo’, which is one of the most important and visited archaeological museums in Sicily; the museum displays over 5688 artifacts illustrating the history of the Agrigentan territory from prehistoric times to the end of the Greek-Roman period. Across the street from the museum, you will find remains of the Hellenistic and Roman quarters.  

Tips for visiting 

-If you are visiting during summer, we suggest getting there very early, or late in the afternoon. During the peak of the day is extremely hot and keep in mind there is not a lot of shade. 

-Wear comfortable shoes and if you are here during the warmer months make sure you take a hat and have a bottle of water with you. Although there are a couple of shops on-site, it’s a large area to walk so it’s best you are prepared.

-To explore the site well, you will need around three to four hours. 

-At the entrance of the park you’ll find the ticket office, souvenir stands, a shop, and restrooms.

Location of Agrigento

Agrigento is in southwestern Sicily. It’s just off the main road that runs along Sicily’s south coast; approximately 140km south of Palermo and 200km west of Catania and Syracuse. We stayed in Cefalù, and the drive from there to Agrigento was roughly two hours. 

Getting there 

The archaeological site can be reached by car or bus and it’s 6.5 kilometres from Agrigento. Local buses run regularly from Agrigento, and there are also many organised day tours that run from pretty much anywhere in Sicily. 

All images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

Created by Alexandra Heard and Heleena Trahanas, ALEX AND TRAHANAS is a stunning Australian lifestyle brand, which is the result of Heleena and Alexandra’s love for “the staggering beauty of summer on the Mediterranean.”  

The classic label features garments, accessories and entertaining pieces inspired by their travels to Europe and beyond- where they visit frequently to source the finest of fabrics, materials and production methods.

IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with both creators about their successful brand, their latest collection, as well as their love for the Greek islands. 

Tell us about your lifestyle brand. When was it launched and what was the concept behind it?

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

ALEX AND TRAHANAS was launched in 2017- aiming to bring the Mediterranean to Australian waters. It is curious about how we undertake life’s every day and special ceremonies, and is driven to create pieces that elevate these moments through quality timeless design.  Our passion for travel and culture inspired us to create a platform in 2017, which allowed us to share collectable pieces and experiences.

What inspires your creations and how would you describe your designs? 

The Mediterranean inspires the brand throughout. We really wanted to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Australia and create our own little Europe through the curated world of ALEX AND TRAHANAS which includes; linen garments -designed and made in Australia, ceramics from the south of Italy to elevate life’s delicious ceremonies of effortless long rolling lunches, along with collaborations with artists and designers we admire. ALEX AND TRAHANAS is a way of life, a way of being, which echoes life lived in the Mediterranean.

What do you love most about what you do?

We love that work and play are intrinsically connected, it’s a way of life, we love what we do.

What are a few of your favourite pieces from your latest fashion collections? 

We love it all! We’re excited about some new pieces we’ve added to our tablescape, such as our Roman Banquet candle, 100% beeswax, handmade in Bondi. This is a collaboration with one of Australia’s most talented creatives, Tony Assness. We’re also excited to continue our jewellery collaboration with Louise Olsen- together we’ve designed some new earrings inspired by Chifferi pasta. We’ll also be whisking through summer wearing our new Ischia dress and Fruittivendelo unisex shirt and shorts.

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

Some of your beautiful creations are inspired by Greece. Tell us more about those?

We’re definitely drawn to the calming palette of blue and white, which is so prevalent in Greece, it brings back memories of all the beautiful seaside spots.

Where are your pieces made? 

Our ceramics are handmade by artisans in Puglia, in the south of Italy. They are all hand painted, making each one of a kind. We also work locally with artists such as Louise Olsen whom we collaborate with to make jewellery, and also Tony Assness who makes our 100% beeswax candles in Bondi, Sydney.

Heleena, tell us about your family connection to Greece? 

My grandparents migrated from Greece. My family are from the Peloponnese, from Tripoli, Selianitika and Akrata.

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

How often do you travel to Europe and what are some of your favourite summer destinations in Greece?

We travelled twice a year to Europe to source new treasures, we are always seeking out to find pieces to build the Mediterranean lifestyle in Australia. We love Milos and Hydra, the more untouched islands.

Over the last few years you’ve visited Sifnos and Hydra, where would you recommend to eat, drink & swim? 


Swim: Poulati, Vathi, Platos Yialos.

Eat: For lunch we recommend Cheronissos Fish Tavern and Manolis in Vathi. For dinner  head to Taverna Chrisopigi in Perivoli and To Xryso in Artemonas.


Swim: You can find little beaches all along the small island of Hydra, boats are frequent or you can walk. Mandraki, Spilia, Castello, Vlychos Beach.

Eat: To Pefkaki for lunch, Kodylenias, Techne Restaurant, Xeri Elia.

Drink: Hydronetta, Sunset Restaurant.

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean


What are a few key pieces from your collections that you always pack with you when visiting the Mediterranean?

Our white aloe-vera infused Italian linen Summer Shirt Dress, the navy Aperitivo Dress, the striped Giorgia dress from our collaboration with Masseria Moroseta, as well as our aloe-vera infused Italian Linen Shirt and Summer tailored shorts (the perfect set). We always work to an effortless, throw-on, beach-to-apertivo uniform on our European summer travels.

You also love entertaining. What are a few of your favourite dishes/desserts you enjoy making for family and friends?

We do! We actually live for it. Each time we entertain we select a cuisine or particular region, and explore recipes which originate from there. For the most case, everything we make is for the first time a part from a few cuisine-specific classics such as prawn saganaki and Spanakopita (for Greek menus) and fresh pasta (for Italian menus). Dreaming up the menu is our favourite part  – there is always lots of back and forth sharing of recipes, images and ideas. We think a lot about the balance of dishes to make up a truly delicious occasion and about the mouth-watering flavour and texture combinations. Recently we enjoyed making a grilled squid, cavolo nero, chili, garlic and parsley dish from our good friend David Lovett, as well as an almond granita which was so elegant and refreshing after a sprawling dinner party feast.

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

What are some of your tips for simple and elegant table styling when entertaining? 

Table styling should be fun and relaxed, never stuffy. Think about textures, linen, abundance, statements and lighting.  When the table is set in a gorgeous mix of colours, heights, shapes and textures it really sets the tone for the occasion. Enjoy the ceremony of styling the pieces you’ve collected over time. For us, it’s Apulian hand-painted ceramics, Italian wine tumblers and colourful water glasses by Bitossi and a linen table cloth, sometimes layered with a table runner from Puglia.

Where would you like to explore next for work and play? 

Andros, we can’t wait!

Gorgeous Italian Girl Turns Family Home on Greek Island into a Stunning B&B

Born in the charming countryside of Abruzzo, Northern Italy, and raised to know and appreciate good food and wonderful hospitality, it’s only fitting that Allegra Pomilio, who considers Greece her home away from home, becomes the hostess with the mostess on the Cycladic island of Andros- creating beautiful and authentic experiences for her guests.  

With a passion for gastronomy and a strong background in design and photography, Allegra followed her heart, turning her family residence in Andros, into a beautiful B&B overlooking the Aegean Sea. Her ability to create sensory storytelling through food and styling and connecting it with the Mediterranean way of life, has been the core ingredient in attracting hundreds of international guests here each year. 

Insights Greece - Gorgeous Italian Girl Turns Family Home on Greek Island into a Stunning B&B

Every aspect of Mèllises is well thought out – from breakfast being served from the chic open plan kitchen area, to the large saltwater swimming pool with the sea as a backdrop, and the architectural work that has a deep respect for the landscape. The entire property is a slice of heaven- bringing together endearing elements of Greece, Italy and France.

Each object you find here has been hand-picked by Allegra and her mother, who spent endless hours sourcing vintage pieces during their travels around Europe. Every room is filled with Mediterranean splendour and a simplicity that is both warm and inviting. 

During your stay at Mèllises, you will also be spoiled for choice by the homegrown varieties of fruit plants, local herbs and spices that enrich the property, which now also houses a small farm- with plenty more organic produce for guests to feast their eyes on. 

IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with Allegra about dividing her time between Italy and Greece, and creating a work-life that “somehow has melted into one career after a lot of time, and doubtful moments. But life is all about courage, good ideas and hard work,” she says. 

What was it like growing up on the beautiful countryside of Abruzzo? 

I was the luckiest child in the world growing up in such a special place. Our house is nestled in the rural heart of our region, surrounded by medicinal plants and orange trees planted by my great grandfather Amedeo. He used the garden for all of his experiments, resulting in the creation of an orange liqueur called Aurum, still widely in use today and to me, one of the greatest reminders of my family when I’m far from home.

I remember spending so much time outside in the garden; climbing on trees, rescuing small animals and playing endless creative games. Sometimes I even imagined to be like my great grandfather Amedeo, creating some magic potions with whatever fruits and flowers I could gather around – I think that’s where my passion for cooking began.  

What are your fondest memories of first visiting Greece? 

Insights Greece - Gorgeous Italian Girl Turns Family Home on Greek Island into a Stunning B&B

I have endless memories from my early years in Italy but I have to admit that some of my most treasured moments were spent on my uncle’s sailing boat in Greece. My uncle Alberto is what we call a “lupo di mare” in Italian, or sea wolf. He’s a rather serious, introverted man, but with so much generosity and love for the water. He was and still is a great mentor to me.

Almost every summer, he would host me and my cousins on his boat and we would sail around Greece together. Life by the sea is not an easy one, there are many rules, but also so many incredible life experiences. Alberto taught us how to tie knots, sail, and how to cook in a 1×1 m kitchen. He also showed me how to fish, dive and simply enjoy life with the simplest things. I remember those days fondly- some of the greatest adventures of my life.

How did Andros become your second home?

We had been looking for a long time for a place  in Greece, which has always been a second home to me and Andros was one of the luckiest encounters of my life. Everybody told us of how non-touristy, wild and secluded this island was, and we loved it immediately, especially because of those reasons. Mèlisses was true love at first sight, nothing else mattered. This place was the one! 

Tell us more about Mèlisses- the concept and design. 

Insights Greece - Gorgeous Italian Girl Turns Family Home on Greek Island into a Stunning B&B

Mèlisses is a home away from home, and that’s the real heart of our philosophy. Everything about the property is aimed at respecting and highlighting the surroundings of the island and the local flora/fauna. We wanted the house to almost disappear from human sight, yet create a small oasis by the sea. It was definitely a family project, we renovated and thought of every detail together. My mother and I are very passionate about antiques and flea markets, whereas my father is more conceptual and interested in the landscaping. It was a good combination of our visions. 

Describe the layout of the property. 

The whole house revolves around the kitchen living-room area, where we gather to have meals every morning and share thoughts/ideas but also beautiful discoveries of the day. The bedrooms are scattered around the property, some closer to the main house, others lower, closer to the sea. Everybody has their own private outdoor space and full access to all outdoor areas of the property, including access to the sea, or vegetable garden and henhouse.

Insights Greece - Gorgeous Italian Girl Turns Family Home on Greek Island into a Stunning B&B

What can guests expect from a stay at Mèlisses? 

From extreme care in the interiors of the rooms to our supervision of activities or simply our local knowledge of restaurants, local makers and of course our breakfast, which is a really serious thing here at Mèlisses! Everything is homemade, from the bread to the granola, yoghurt or juices- freshness is the key. There’s no better way to start the day than having a good breakfast, followed by a swim in the sea below the property, one of the most pristine bays of the island.

Tell us about your popular workshops and retreats? 

During our retreats, we try to highlight the island from a different perspective. Our retreats are small curated experiences that allow our guests to truly experience the authenticity of the island. Every day we arrange different activities, from cooking to hiking, or simply a lazy picnic by the beach, we love to surprise and spoil our visitors. 

Do you combine Italian and Greek flavours for guests to try?

I definitely do. My food is a mixture of influences from Italian, Greek and French cuisines. I love to make fresh pastry stuffed with local Andros cheese, or simply play with lots of typical Italian and Greek recipes that are interpreted in a more modern and fresh way. My favourite recipes to cook are generally seasonal and rather fast to assemble. Lately, for breakfast I have been experimenting with tsoureki brioche, turning it into French toast or even tiramisu. I also make lots of savoury tarts using zucchini flowers and tomatoes from our garden. I also love a simple cold soup, like gazpacho, or corn with lots of crunchy herbs and spices.

What are a few of your favourite Italian and Greek herbs that you like using in your dishes? 

Insights Greece - Gorgeous Italian Girl Turns Family Home on Greek Island into a Stunning B&B

I love basil, both Italian and Greek ones, but also wild thyme from Andros, and lemon geranium- it’s really delicious in granitas or blended in a juice. Bahari or Greek allspice was a revolution to me and I put it in all my stews now. I also love to make fried sage leaves, a classic Italian aperitivo dish that everybody loves here at Mèlisses.

What similarities do you find most striking between Greek and Italian food? 

Simplicity is the key in both cuisines. A fresh salad, some grilled fish and a few fried zucchini slices. There are definitely many similarities between Italian and Greek foods and usually, the simplest recipes are the best ones. 

What do you love most about your time on Andros island and what do you miss when you head back to Abruzzo? 

I love the proximity to nature that I have here in Andros. Sometimes, in the city, I feel like it’s hard to breathe. Here I’m surrounded by water at all times, it is such a precious thing being able to jump into the sea any time I want. A swim can be incredibly therapeutic and it’s my favourite way to disconnect from work.

I also love the fact that even on the busiest days I can still find quiet space on the island all for myself. I know everybody here on Andros, it is all familiar and dear to me. I have friends that I miss very much when I leave. 

Insights Greece - Gorgeous Italian Girl Turns Family Home on Greek Island into a Stunning B&B

How long do you spend in Andros each year? 

I usually arrive in April and leave again around the end of October, the beginning of November. Approximately six to seven months.

And now you are also organising retreats in Abruzzo for 2021.  

Yes, I will be organising four annual seasonal retreats in order for guests to discover Abruzzo in a different way. From wine tastings, truffle-hunting in the woods, or saffron harvest, to foraging and cooking classes, each experience will be one of a kind.