A Greek island presentation for Mr. Vasilios, 4/24/14

This is a city in the southern Peloponnese islands. It  stands between the Mediterranean and the endless silvery grove that produces Kalamata's famous tear-drop olives.

For decades, it was chiefly known as the gateway to the western Mani, but since the mid 90s there have been many reasons to linger:

1. The annual International Dance Festival (held in the third week of July)

-most performances take place in the courtyard theatre of the medieval castle built by French Crusaders on Mycenaean foundations. The castle overlooks the old town with its elegant neo-classical buildings, lively main square and tempting, traditional food shops.

2. The Archaeological Museum

-conjures up a civilisation at perennial odds with its aggressive neighbour, Sparta.

3. Folklore Museum

-depicts Kalamata's gentility two centuries ago and its declaration of independence from the Ottomans in 1821, two days before the rest of Greece.

4. The town's long, clean beach

-lined with medium-sized hotels and good tavernas

5. Explore the Mani

6. A trip to explore Ancient Messene.

7. The site, 19 miles north of Kalamata on Mt Ithomi, is one of the most impressive in the Peloponnese.

-On-going excavations have laid bare the major buildings of this fourth-century BC city and dozens of beautiful sculptures.

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