(1900 Times Atlas of the World)
1207 Marco Sanudo, a Venetian adventurer, conquers Nasso and founds the Duchy of Nasso which includes most of the Cycladic Islands: Serifo is partitioned among other Venetian families. In the early XVth century Alvise Michiel establishes his rule over the whole island.
1537 The Ottomans conquer Serifo
Everyone landing at Seriphos must naturally think
of those frogs which Pliny tells us were always silent
here, and it was a disappointment to me when I heard
them croaking gaily on the little plain down by the
harbour. I confess I believe that the saying about the
frogs of Seriphos being silent referred to the boorishness
of the inhabitants when they visited Athens. (..) The antiquities left in Seriphos do not point to any
very great artistic merit in the days of old.
James Theodore Bent - The Cyclades - 1885
Serpho is a strange romantic place nothing but, rocks, precipices abrupt quarries and naked promontories shew themselves on every hand.
Thomas Broderick - Letters from Several Parts of Europe, and the East: Written in the Years 1750 etc.
Seriphos is an island with lovely outlines; the town is built on a conical, escarped hill, just above the harbour, with caves and rocks all over it. (..) Modern white houses are now clinging like mussels to these rocks, and the summit is crowned with the remains of a mediaeval castle. Bent
Chora, the main village, is located at the very top of a hill near a bay on the southern coast of the island; the old part is still clearly distinguishable from the later expansion of Chora on a lower terrace.
I was extremely pleased with the face of the country but I could guess the inhabitants would have been full as well satisfied with it if it had been richer. They starve and there is but one town on the whole island. Broderick
The village of Livadhi, by the harbour, is small but tidy, and we there partook of refreshments in a clean fisherman's cottage off a table rudely carved with all sorts of fish designs. The tiny plain down by the harbour is a pattern of fertility. There is a well in each field; pomegranates, figs, and almond trees abound. Bent
Serifo, like nearby Sifno and Argentiera was known for its mines: these were exploited also in modern times and the island was the site of one of the first major Greek strikes (1916): it ended in bloodshed. The mines were eventually closed in the 1980s and this caused a dramatic economic crisis with a significant reduction of the population.
The oldest part of the town
They call it St Nicolo and of all the towns I have seen it is the most extraordinary in its figure and situation. Tis at about three miles from the port and is built round about a most hideous and horrible rock, black, abrupt and rugged. What a prospect for people to have chosen for their windows! Broderick
En route to the castle
We climbed up the steep ascent to the town on foot, as did the rest of the population who had come to see
the steamer arrive. Bent
The houses which formed a sort of enclosure have been largely modified, but the access to the top of the hill through a series of narrow and long steps remains rather difficult.
Walls of the old fortifications
The summit of the hill, and the castle crowning it, were
at length reached, and here the schoolmaster showed us a niche in which, he said, once stood a statue of a king
of Seriphos, which the English had taken away. Bent
The walls of the castle have almost entirely disappeared, but there is still a very old building clinging to the rock.
Residence of the vice-consul of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1819) and a 1433 coat of arms of the Michiel family on a house near the ruins of the castle
Captain George's house was a new one, at the lower
end of the town, really quite a mansion for the islands. (..) Over the
gateway to the castle was a coat of arms, and 1433 over
it; so I felt convinced that the schoolmaster alluded to
a statue of one of the Latin dukes who ruled in Seriphos.
But, though the English have been great robbers in
Greece in their day, I question if anyone ever burdened
himself with the statue of a Crispi or a Sommaripa. Bent
An unusually elegant house is decorated with a simplified coat of arms of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (which ended in 1860): it belonged to a local landlord who acted as vice-consul; the inscription is in Italian, which was largely spoken in the Aegean Islands and was the official language for commercial transactions until the beginning of the XIXth century.
Introductory page on the Venetian Fortresses in Greece
List of the fortresses
|Geographic area||Location||Ionian Islands||Corfų (Kerkyra) Paxo (Paxi) Santa Maura (Lefkadas) Cefalonia (Kephallonia) Asso (Assos) Itaca (Ithaki) Zante (Zachintos) Cerigo (Kythera)||Greek Mainland||Butrinto (Butrint) Parga Preveza and Azio (Aktion) Vonizza (Vonitsa) Lepanto (Nafpaktos) Atene (Athens)||Peloponnese (Morea)||Castel di Morea (Rio), Castel di Rumelia (Antirio) and Patrasso (Patra) Castel Tornese (Hlemoutsi) and Glarenza Navarino (Pilo) and Calamata Modon (Methoni) Corone (Koroni) Braccio di Maina, Zarnata, Passavā and Chielefā Mistrā Corinto (Korinthos) Argo (Argos) Napoli di Romania (Nafplio) Malvasia (Monemvassia)||Aegean Islands||Negroponte (Chalki) Castelrosso (Karistos) Oreo Lemno (Limnos) Schiatto (Skiathos) Scopello (Skopelos) Alonisso Schiro (Skyros) Andro (Andros) Tino (Tinos) Micono (Mykonos) Siro (Syros) Egina (Aegina) Spezzia (Spetse) Paris (Paros) Antiparis (Andiparos) Nasso (Naxos) Serifo (Serifos) Sifno (Syphnos) Milo (Milos) Argentiera (Kimolos) Santorino (Thira) Folegandro (Folegandros) Stampalia (Astipalea)||Crete||Grambusa (Granvousa) Castello (Kasteli/Kissamos) La Canea (Xania) Souda Candia (Iraklion) Rettimo (Rethymno) Spinalonga and Castel Mirabello Castles on the southern coast Sittia and Paleocastro|
You may refresh your knowledge of the history of Venice in the Levant by reading an abstract from
the History of Venice by Thomas Salmon, published in 1754. The Italian text is accompanied by an English summary.