An interplay of stone and light
Behind every stone and in every pocket of light that prevail in the Mani countryside hides a tale of courage, endurance, generosity and harmony. A landscape of unique stone buildings is a testament to the region’s turbulent past, while an interplay of rich greenery, arid rock and luminous sea-blue greets visitors with a warmth matched only by the warm-hearted welcome of the area’s famously proud people.
A landscape that towers over all others
Mani is castle-and-tower house territory. The distinctive stone buildings, clustered or dotted around this region of the southern Peloponnese, instil a sense of wonder wherever you roam. To noble Areopoli, the historic centre of Mani, with its stone alleyways and streets, in which stands the tower of the Mavromichalis family, among the leaders of Greece’s 1821 War of Independence.

On to atmospheric Vathia, a handsome settlement of stone towers, some derelict and others beautifully renovated. The fortress town of Kardamyli rightfully claims a following of its own. And as for picturesque Itilo, with stone houses, alleyways and Byzatine churches of its own… well, according to Homer, the village contributed ships to the Trojan War. You can practically picture them sailing out to sea.

Inspired by an eternal light
It’s when the sunlight dances off the sea – sometimes blue, sometimes green – that you know Mani has captured your soul. From the beautiful fishing village of Limeni, where tavernas and cafes allow your mind to drift with the play of the midday sun on the water or of the golden sunset, to the crystalline waters of Gerolimenas… the journey is remarkable.

In Gythio, it’s tempting to believe that Hercules and Apollo were deliberately inseparable in the fight that gave birth to the town’s name, just so it could be christened “Gods’ Earth”. Bathing spots are found all along the coastline, with sandy Stoupa rightly considered a highlight of the Peloponnese. But in this landscape, you’ll be tempted to just dive off the rocks. And, somehow, the iconic Dimitrios shipwreck, on the beach near Gythio, sums up the spirit of Mani better than anywhere else.
Mani’s deep and hidden history
The mind boggles at the thought of the Diros Caves, located near Areopoli, being inhabited between 4000 and 3000BC, but these Palaeolithic and Neolithic settlements are among the most important natural site in Greece. No visit to Mani is complete without a boat tour of Vlychada (the larger of the two caves) – or at least along the 1.5km of the 15km network of more than 2,800 underground waterways that is accessible.

Occasionally squeezing through passageways barely wider than the boat, and within a dramatic setting of stalagmites and stalactites, you’ll be mesmerised by the shifting shapes and colours reflected on the stationary water. A museum presents the story of the discovery of the caves, including of the bones of an almost 6,000-year-old couple found locked in an eternal embrace in Vlychada’s sister cave, Alepotrypa, which is still being explored by archaeologists.

Mouth-watering tastes
and life-affirming aromas
In a land blessed with a tapestry of olive trees, it’s natural that rich and fragrant extra-virgin olive oil should set the tone for a wonderful culinary experience. You will find it drizzled over seafood and vegetables so fresh that your taste buds will be forever spoiled; as an ingredient in an assortment of delicious pies – lahanopites (with greens) and lalagia (pancakes) among them; or in preserving syglino (smoked pork), a staple of every household in Mani that was once prepared by male family members before Christmas.

And you won’t want to leave without a bottle of locally produced honey. Indeed, this is a land where the simplest pleasures last longest in the memory. It’s when you’ve found a wood-fired oven and experience the unmistakable aromas of freshly baked Maniot bread that you know you’ve truly arrived.
Simple luxury and a setting of perfect harmony
A land with such a rich story to tell – generous and noble but also stylish (in a simple and minimalist way) – requires a hotel of the same stature. Where the elements of stone and light play a leading role in the guest experience, just as they do throughout the region.

So, welcome to Petra & Fos Boutique Hotel & Spa (stone and light, as the name translates), set over the calm waters of the bay of Itilo, with inspiring views of the ever-changing blues and greens of the sea. Built in harmony with its rugged surroundings, Petra & Fos offers discreet luxury whilst also drawing effortlessly on themes of Byzantine art, traditional Maniot stonework and delicious local and Mediterranean cuisine – a microcosm of a unique and inspiring land.
An interplay of stone and light
A journey that tells the story of a place and a people that will constantly inspire you. This is Mani, as told through every single block of the region’s famous tower houses and the eternally shifting colours of the sea, caressed – as it always has been – by the life-giving sun.
It takes just one step on holiday to start the process of discovery. So, what if that step becomes a hop? And then another?