KefalloniaArea of island: 781 sq. km/302 sq. miChief town: ArgostóliKefalloniá (or Kefallinía; Italian Cefalonia), the largest of the Ionian Islands, is an island of bare limestone hills rising to 1,628m/5,341ft in Mt Aínos and slashed by fertile valleys with luxuriant subtropical vegetation. It is generally accepted as being the Homeric island of Same (but for Wilhelm Dörpfeld's divergent view). The island's main sources of income are agriculture and the tourist trade.In the "Odyssey" the two islands of Same and Doulichion are described as belonging to the kingdom of Ithaca, but Odysseus's subjects are also called Cephallenians.In the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. the island, like Corfu, was under the influence of Corinth; then in 456 B.C. Tolmides compelled it to submit to Athens. At that time there were four city states on Kephallenia - Kranioi, Pale, Pronnoi and Same - which Thucydides refers to as a tetrapolis. The cities were members of the Aeolian League, and Cephallenian vessels fought against Philip V of Macedon (220-217 B.C.). They fought, too, against the Romans, but eventually the islands fell into the power of Rome. Thereafter Kephallenia shared the destinies of the other Ionian Islands.
Kefalloniá's capital, Argostóli, lies on a peninsula projecting into the Gulf of Argostóli (or Livádi), which cuts deep into the southwest coast of the island. Once an attractive old town, it was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1953 and has been rebuilt in modern style. The Archeological Museum contains Mycenaean and Roman material.The remains at Argostóli include a couple of houses, an arched bridge stretching across the lagoon and the obelisk at its center, which commemorates the date of its construction.
Corgialeneion Historical and Folk Art Museum
The Corgialeneion Historical and Folk Art Museum, housed in the Corgialeneion Library, is dedicated to preserving the history and memory of the town prior to the 1953 earthquakes. It explores a variety of periods, including the Venetian, Frankish, Turkish, Turko-Russian, the French Revolution, French Empire, provisional British rule and the Union with Greece.
Address: 12 Ilia Zervou Street, 28100 Argostóli, Greece
Argostoli Archeological Museum
The Argostoli Archeological Museum features artifacts from Cephalonia, dating from prehistoric to Roman periods.
Address: G. Vergoti St, 28100 Argostóli, Greece
Argostoli - Sea-mills
North of Argostóli, at the tip of the peninsula, are the famous sea-mills of Argostóli, now partly buried as a result of the 1953 earthquake. The mills are driven by sea-water surging along a channel cut through the rock and then disappearing into hidden underground passages through the limestone, to emerge on the east side of the island in the Melissáni Cave.
Six km/4mi east of Argostóli are the remains of ancient Kranioi.
Ayios Yeoryios Castle, Greece
Nine km/6mi southeast of Argostóli, at the village of Kástro (once the island's flourishing chief town), stands the 13th century castle of Áyios Yeóryios (alt. 320m/1,050ft; view). The 17th century monastery of Áyios Andreas has fine frescoes (12th century) and icons. The site of ancient Kephallenia is believed to have been in this area. To the south, at the foot of Mt Áyios Yeóryios, extends the fertile upland region of Liváto. Byron stayed at Metaxáta in 1823. In the neighborhood are three Mycenaean rock-cut tombs.
24 km/15 mi east of Argostóli is Sámi, with principal harbor on the island of Kefalloniá. Ancient Same, the island's capital, which prospered particularly in the time of the Diadochoi, lay to the south of the modern town on the slopes of the double-topped hill which rises above it (remains of town walls; Roman villa of A.D. second century).
Drongarati Stalactitic Cave
In the vicinity of Sámi are the stalactitic caves of Drongaráti (southwest) and Melissáni (north- west; underground lake).The Drongorati cave is located near the village of Khaliotata and is connected to the town of Sámi by an asphalt road. It is located at an altitude of 120 m, is 95 m long, 45 m broad at its widest point and 21 m deep.The cave is divided in two parts. The first is a doline (Karst depression) because its roof has fallen in. The main cavern consists of a cavity divided into two parts. In the first section, transparent stalagmites have formed on the fallen boulders which broke away from the roof. In the second, unusually fine acoustics have made it an ideal concert hall.The cave roof has collapsed in areas providing a glimpse of what lies beneath
In the vicinity of Sámi are the stalactitic caves of Frongaráti (southwest) and Melissáni (north- west; underground lake).The cave roof has collapsed in areas providing a glimpse of what lies beneath.
At the northeastern tip of the island of Kefalloniá lies the little port of Fiskárdo (ancient Panormos), named after the Norman leader Robert Guiscard, who died here in 1085. Some of the old houses in the village have been converted for use as holiday homes.Fiskárdo lies opposite and very close to Ithaca. It is surrounded by a thick cypress glade.
Northwest of Argostóli, on the Palikí peninsula on the far side of the gulf, is the port of Lixoúri, which is connected with Argostóli by ferry and by road. North of the town are scanty remains of ancient Pale.Lixouri is Kefalloniá's second largest town. It has a 19th century mansion-museum and vestiges of the ancient city of Pale (Pali).The beaches to the south of the town are among the best on the island.
At Ássos is a ruined Venetian castle (1595).The castle has not undergone excavation.
Ayia Effimia, Greece
Near the village of Ayía Effimía on the Erisso peninsula, on the north side of the Gulf of Sámi, can be seen remains of the walls of ancient Same.
Katélios, in southeastern Kefallonia are some fantastic beaches. Some Roman ruins were also discovered in this area.
Cephalonia - Ainos National Park
Ainos National Park was established in 1962 in Kefalloniá. It is 2,862 hectares/7,069 acres. Special features include Abies cephalonica (Grecian fir).
Address: 3-5 Ippokratous, Greece
Cephalonia - Swallow Holes
Around Lassi are the Katavóthres (swallow-holes) where the rocks give the appearance of swallowing the sea water that as it rushes in.