VANNI Tour of the World: Atene

It is a capital city that has shaped the development of modern civilization; philosophy, government and aesthetics. Athens is a city to which we owe much. A city that must be visited at least once, the lucky few returning many times. We at VANNI belong to the lucky few.
We have always felt a strong desire to return to our roots, and for years we have been fortunate to work with our Greek partner -who has not only become our friend but a family of friends that have acted as superlative tour guides.
Under the expert eye of Paris Papavassiliou we are taking you to Greece.
Let us guide you without pre-conceptions and the negative influence of the bad economic news of recent years.
Do you remember how The Iliad and The Odyssey teaches us about the importance of hospitality? Greeks are fundamentally welcoming and hospitable. And if you decide to visit not only Athens but also further afield, know that it is easy to explore: good roads, good food, clean and affordable accommodation. Although road signs are in Greek, don’t panic, just try an learn the alphabet, it’s fun!
We begin our journey in Athens. This city is unexpected and you understand that immediately as your plane lands along a long strip of low, white houses, like an urban sheet that extends between the azur waters and the hills that hug the profile of the coastline.
Of course we have to talk about Athens’ famous landmarks. The Acropolis and the Parthenon must be visited, particularly at sundown, cooler and romantic with an amazing view. The ruins powerfully conjure up the greatness of a past civilization. Although the Temple of the goddess Athene was sacked and stripped of its beauty by ancient and more recent archeogolgists, the impact is immense. Take time to visit the Museum of the Acropolis to understand this place, consecrated by the Gods. Even better if you arrive at dinner time, you can combine good food with an incredible panoramic view at the restaurant Attikos (
Athens is not only the Acropolis and if the civilization that created our modern world interests you, don’t miss out on Agorà, the beating heart of the old city as well as the National Archeological Museum where you will experience first-hand the sculptures that illustrate your art history books.

If you have a few hours we suggest a magic trip to Cape Sounion (described in the Odyssey) about an hour from Athens, a spectacular promontory that juts out into the Attica adorned with  the ruins of the Poseidon Temple. If treasure hunts are your thing, you can search for the engraved signature of the romantic English poet Lord Byron on the ancient columns – him, who loved and returned to this place many times. On the road have a pit stop at the Noto Café at the waters’ edge.

But Athens not only looks to the past but also to the future. Check out the newly opened National Opera, funded by the Niarkos Foundation, situated in a beautiful seaside park. A bold construction blending cultural and green spaces, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano .

The city is vibrant, with a mix of more touristy neighbourhoods and those a bit more off the beaten track, lived in by Athenians. Make note. For night life the hippest square is the Agia Irini Church, but if you enjoy the more laid back atmosphere of the old port let yourself be enchanted by Mikrolimano, or the local hustle and bustle of the Mea Smymi square. Or go to Glyfada, the shopping district. As you are obviously eyewear fans, don’t miss out on Occhio, one of the 4 boutiques of the Papavassilou family, with a personalized selection of designer eyewear, including our new VANNI collections As you are already there you could stop for lunch at Mezze, a creative Greek tavern with an original but affordable menu.

For now we’ll take a break, hoping that this stop on the VANNI World Tour has inspired you to discover or rediscover an incredible city.