I remember as if it were yesterday the day
I arrived for the fi rst time in Alonnisos, coming
from Skopelos on a little excursion caïque.
It was in the 1980s, and I’d been really impressed
by the peerless natural beauty and
the air of profound peacefulness the landscape
The heights of its hills gazed from a poetic
distance over the Aegean, and the little islets
all around glittered like precious stones in the
scattered sunlight. Everything had the charm
of the unknown; of the fi rst contact with the
composer of a harmonic, melodic symphony.
The island’s harbour, built on the primordial
rocks scattered within the arms of a little
bay, was refl ected in the purest waters and
embraced the visitor, hospitably and optimistically
winking at him.
The place felt familiar, as if it had been
with me for ages, especially when I walked
through the picturesque deserted Chora1. Really
it seemed uninhabited, and it probably
was in some ways, as I found out later. The
impression was of an old photograph, diff used
with the colours of desertion, and with a background
of the old ways of life, suddenly leﬅ
off … in the middle.
Imbued architecturally with aged stone
memories, it breathes the magic of a forgotten
fairy-tale; island tradition has it that witches
walk the cobbled streets. The legends, and the
old stories, give a nostalgic touch to every corner
of this traditional emotion.
But Alonnisos literally possessed me chiefl y
through the walks which a real traveller can
take. Ways that lead to beautiful beaches or
some unexpected landscape, fragrant with sea
air and aromatic plants.
A treasure, far removed from all material
vanities, which are at once rendered worthless
by the infi nity of the ocean that meets our
gaze. A real, meaningful journey that strips us
of the weariness of pointless vanities.
Picturesque little houses are set in the deep
green landscape, gazing at the distant archipelago,
while our footsteps lead us into their
Seek out, then, within your own internal
depths the endless beauties of the island; not
just for aesthetic pleasure, but also for local
tastes, like an intoxicating blend, leﬅ for many
years like a fi ne old wine in the best-kept cellar…
That year I understood what Dostoevsky
meant when he said… «Beauty will save
Translated by Simon Darragh