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Condé Nast Traveler

Conde Nast Traveler

Aegean with Dignity

Among the more attractive period buildings in Posidonía is Villa Evangelini, a honey-coloured house situated opposite a blue church. The villa was bought and converted by Dimitri and Evangelini Vamvacopoulos and is now available for holiday lets. Evangelini is a descendant of one of the many families of Chíos who came to Syros at the beginning of the Greek War of Independence. The rooms she has styled would hold their own in a lifestyle magazine, and are unusual by Greek standards in that they are furnished with antiques. Some of the results are felicitous, such as the painted dowry chests, rustic furniture and colourwashed walls; others are less satisfactory: antique bed frames are suited to much smaller statures than those of today. In summer, life is lived mostly outside, where the grounds have been thoughtfully landscaped to provide various eating and seating areas, a large barbecue and a good-sized pool (which is fed from a private well and thus is not prone to the water shortages that afflict most Greek islands in high summer). The kitchen of the house is rather badly planned, so keen cooks should aim to do their preparation and grilling in the open air. And less keen cooks needn't worry as there is someone on hand to do the shopping and prepare meals, the sort of home cooking that Elizabeth David doubtless enjoyed. Several outbuildings house additional bedrooms, making the villa ideal for a group of friends or a couple of families. Close to the villa are beaches, bars and tavernas at Agathopés, Fínikas and Mégas Gialos, where swimming is safe and food of the high standard and generous quantities that prevail when Greeks themselves dominate the tourist population. Sampling life on Syros brings a salutary reminder of the positive difference it makes when food is an intrinsic part of the culture. In the island's tavernas, young waiters and waitresses recommend dishes with enthusiasm because this is the food they themselves eat and that their mothers and grandmothers make at home. Interest expressed in the island's specialities such as luza, the local smoked ham, kopanistí and St Michalis (both cheeses) and a salad of salted herring, is rewarded with sample tastes and further advice on what to try.
Villa Evangelini, ref GR21 for 21 persons >>
Villa Evangelini ref GR21a for 14 persons >>
Villa Evangelini ref GR21b for 8 persons >>

The experts - travel queries answered

by Peter Browne
February 2005
We put this question to Dominique Wells: We want to rent a Provençal villa with a pool in June for two families. Safety is a priority. Where would you suggest?
We have just inspected a new property for our 2005 programme which would be ideal. Les Murets, near Cabrières-d'Avignon, is beautifully decorated and has a fenced-off, 12 metre pool, a tennis court and accommodation that would suit two families. It also has panoramic views and a large, beautifully landscaped enclosed garden. The location is superb, in the heart of the Luberon, with lovely hilltop villages only a few kilometres away.
Mas des Lavandes, ref PR09 >>