“Ionian Discoveries would like to welcome you on board one of the last few traditional working Kaiki’s in the area, Agia Kiriaki.”
Ithaca is part of the Ionian Islands and lies just east of Kefalonia separated by a narrow channel spanning just 3 km. It is famed for being the birthplace of Odysseus who featured in the Trojan war and was immortalised by Homer in his epic poem The Odyssey – the story of Odysseus journey from Troy to Ithaca.
It is a green and mountainous island which is often overlooked by mainstream tourism which keeps it quiet, even in the height of the summer. Often preferred by walkers and painters Ithaca’s serenity is one of it’s most endearing features. The east coast slopes gently into the sea and hides some of the Ionians most beautiful bays and harbours whilst the west coast drops dramatically into the sea from sheer cliffs.
The island is no more than 29km long with a varying width, the maximum being about 6.5 km and has a coastline of around 72 km. The total landmass covers 92.5 sq km with approximately three thousand inhabitants.
There are various interpretations as to the origin of the name Ithaca, it is believed that it derives from:
– Ithacos, the hero from mythology;
– the Greek word “ithy” which means “cheerful;”
– the Greek adjective “ithys” which means “straight”
– the Phoenician word “utica” which means “colony.”
The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC, and later it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The Norman’s ruled Ithaca in the 12th and 13th century, and after a short Turkish rule it fell into Venetian hands.