Amphiteatrically built on the Tourlakou hill till the Akritas cape, Koroni is a major pole of attraction in the region. It is located 52km southwest of Kalamata and it has 1,700 inhabitants approximately. A renowned town mostly for the production of a variety of table olives: the Koroni olive. The legend has it that the town won the Turks favour during the Ottoman empire.
There are two versions as to the naming of the town. According to the first one, Epimelides named the town from Koroni in Boeotia, his hometown, and according to the second, a bronze coin (a Kourouna coin) was discovered where the fortress was to be built. The historians say that the town was built where ancient Asini stood; a view corroborated by scriptures, potsherds and vases brought to light by the excavations. Koroni thrived and economically prospered from the 13th until the 17th century, a period interrelated with the presence of Franks and Venetians in the region. Its crucial role in commerce and industry was undisputable as it was consecutively conquered by the Franks (1205), the Venetians (1207), the Turks (1500) and Charles V of Spain (1532). All these conquests have forged the identity of the fortified town. An important harbor and a notable commerce hub, Koroni and its opposite town of Methoni were for centuries the eyes of the west towards the east.
Strolling in the town
You reach the town either from the coastal road (direction Methoni and Foinikounta) or from the main road if you drive from Petalidi. This road gets narrower as it goes down the harbor and divides the town in the upper and the lower town. The old two-storey mansions and captains’ houses with neoclassical features coupled with the local marine architectural style, reflect a glorious naval and cosmopolitan past. Multi-coloured geraniums, beautiful little balconies and picturesque alleys, all form a lovely maze that gets you to the port. The central square is a meeting point and the cathedral of Agios Dimitrios with Heptanese School frescoes, as well as the clock, is a must-see. To reach the port, take the coastal promenade, feel the sea breeze and taste the fresh fish in the lovely taverns.
The principal tourist attraction is the imposing Venetian fortress and its citadel which still remains alive with houses, churches and cultivated fields. Built by the Venetians in the 6-7th century, it is a typical Venetian fortress. From the north side and from the Resalto rocks on the south, the visitor can gaze upon the sea. Inside the fortress, the ruins of Agia Sofia church, the old Calendarist convent of Timios Prodromos, the church of Agios Charalambos and the cemetery are not to be missed. On the southwest you will find the church of Agia Eleistria, built in 1900, which is the patron saint of Koroni. This is where the miraculous icons of Panagia, of Luke the Evangelist and of Christ Crucified were accidentally found in 1897. The church celebrates the feast of Zoodohos Pigi with festivities all over town. Leaving the fortress on your left, there is the mansion of chieftain Karapavlos.
Activities and strolls
In addition to sight-seeing, Koroni has many beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters. Zaga beach is extremely popular and is located near the town. If you want a more serene environment, then go to Kastro beach, Gate B. Equally lovely are the beaches Peroulia, Gargarou, Agia Triada and Agios Ioannis. For the most demanding, there are also secluded beaches in just a few miles from Koroni. Close to the town is Vounaria village, renowned for its ceramics and you can book a one-day trip to the cosmopolitan resort of Foinikounta.